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Franklin, Gardner lead Hoos to 73-52 win over Radford

By Scott Ratcliffe

Virginia’s Armaan Franklin led the Cavaliers with 21 points Friday. (Photo: UVA Athletics)

The 25th-ranked Virginia men’s basketball team bounced back from its season-opening loss with a 73-52 blowout of in-state foe Radford Friday night at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers (1-1) got back on track, both offensively and defensively, following Tuesday’s sloppy start to the season against Navy.

Indiana transfer guard Armaan Franklin showed Wahoo fans what he can do, pouring in a game-high 21 points — including five 3-pointers — after struggling to a 2-for-11, 1-for-7 UVA debut Tuesday.

Another transfer, forward Jayden Gardner, posted another strong performance against the Highlanders (1-1), a team he faced last season when he played for East Carolina.

Gardner, who had 18 and 10 in his first Cavalier start Tuesday, finished with 18 points and 7 rebounds Friday, as the Hoos got contributions from up and down the roster. Reece Beekman recorded 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals; Kadin Shedrick added 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks; while Kihei Clark posted 7 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists.

Taine Murray scored his first points as a Cavalier, a 3-pointer, while fellow freshman Igor Miličić Jr. saw his first minutes as a Wahoo. Sophomore guard Carson McCorkle sank a triple and finished with 5 points off the bench.

The Highlanders jumped out to an early 8-3 lead before the fans at JPJ witnessed the season’s first “Cavalanche,” as the Wahoo defense forced a shot-clock violation that sparked a 20-2 run. Beekman and Franklin each knocked down a triple during the spurt, while Gardner scored on back-to-back putbacks.

Radford’s Bryan Hart temporarily stopped the bleeding with a 3-pointer a little past the halfway point of the first half, cutting the Virginia lead to 23-13. The Hoos pushed the lead to 20 by halftime, 41-21, as Franklin capped the first-half scoring with his third 3-ball of the opening 20 minutes.

Shedrick started the second half with a pair of nice blocks before Gardner ignited the home crowd with a sweet move and strong, two-handed flush to bump the advantage to 49-26 before the under-16 media timeout.

Franklin kept it rolling after halftime, as he had his own personal scoring streak of 8 straight points with a jumper followed by a pair of 3-pointers — one from NBA range, the next from in front of the Cavalier bench — as the Hoos took a 61-39 lead with 8:48 to play. Franklin left the floor to a well-deserved ovation with 4:49 remaining.

It was smooth sailing from there, as Virginia shot 43 percent from the floor (20 for 47) and 47 percent from 3-point range (9 for 19), while limiting Radford to 38-percent shooting overall (20 of 53), and 30 percent from downtown (6 of 20). UVA sank 24 of its 29 free-throw attempts on the evening (Radford was 6 for 7).

The Hoos edged RU on the boards, 32-30, while assisting on 14 of their 20 made baskets. The Cavaliers cashed in on 14 second-chance points on 10 offensive rebounds.

Defensively, UVA recorded 7 blocks and 9 steals and turned 15 Radford turnovers into 19 points on the other end. Hart led the Highlanders with 12 points, while Shaquan Jules was the only other RU player in double-figures with 10. Josiah Jeffers added 9 points and Artese Stapleton chipped in with 8.

The Hoos travel to Houston to take on the 15th-ranked Cougars Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

Box Score

Team Notes

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

  • UVA is 7-0 all-time vs. Radford
  • UVA is 147-42 (.778) in nonconference action under Bennett
  • UVA is 32-0 all-time against current Big South members
  • UVA is 73-16 against teams from Virginia since 1999-00
  • UVA has won 26 of its last 30 games against teams from Virginia
  • The Cavaliers had a 20-2 run in the first half and led 41-21 at halftime
  • UVA scored 24 of its 73 points from the free throw line
  • UVA is 137-10 when scoring at least 70 under Tony Bennett

Series Notes

  • Virginia is 7-0 all-time against Radford in the series that dates back to 1987-88
  • The Cavaliers have won all seven of the games at home against the Highlanders, including a 3-0 mark at John Paul Jones Arena
  • Tony Bennett is 3-0 all-time vs. Radford as a head coach, including a win at Washington State
  • UVA has limited the Highlanders to 56 points or fewer in five of the seven meetings

Player Notes

  • Double Figure Scorers: Armaan Franklin (21), Jayden Gardner (18), Kadin Shedrick (10)
  • Shedrick also had a career-high four blocked shots
  • Reece Beekman had four steals to increase his season total to 10
  • Igor Miličić Jr. made his UVA debut

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