Jayden Gardner recorded 23 points and 12 rebounds as No. 13 Virginia slammed Clemson 76-56 in Friday’s semifinal round of the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
Armaan Franklin added 16 points and Kihei Clark chipped in 13 for the second-seeded Cavaliers (25-6), who continued to play without Ben Vander Plas. Their starting forward suffered a season-ending broken hand earlier this week.
Kadin Shedrick once again saw increased playing time for Virginia, and he scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds. As a team, Virginia shot 50 percent from the field and committed only six turnovers.
The Cavaliers will face fourth-seeded Duke — an upset winner over top-seeded Miami — in Saturday’s ACC tournament title game.
Hunter Tyson led the Tigers (23-10) with 15 points on 4-of-8 3-point shooting. PJ Hall contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Brevin Galloway chipped in with 12 points. Clemson hit just 35.8 percent of its shots from the floor and made just 7-of-23 3-pointers.
Gardner made back-to-back baskets to give Virginia a 26-18 lead with about seven minutes left in the first half, although Clemson got within 29-25 on a 3-pointer by Tyson about three minutes later.
The Cavaliers began to create some separation with an 8-0 run before halftime. Franklin scored the first four points on a pair of layups, and Gardner added two buckets down the stretch as Virginia led 37-25 at the break.
The Cavaliers rode that momentum into the second half, beginning the session with a 13-2 push. Gardner converted two layups in the first three minutes of the half, and Clark drained a 3-pointer shortly thereafter.
Shedrick’s two free throws created a 50-27 margin with 14:48 to play.
Clemson got within 56-40 with 9:40 to go, but Franklin’s 3-pointer sent the lead back to 19 points.
The Tigers got no closer than 65-51 down the stretch.
–Field Level Media