UVA escapes ACC quarterfinal round with 66-60 win over BC in overtime

By Scott Ratcliffe

Photo: Andy Hancock/ACC

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It required an extra session in Thursday’s ACC Tournament-quarterfinal nightcap, but No. 3 seed Virginia squeaked out a hard-fought win against No. 11 seed Boston College, 66-60, in front of a loud Cavalier contingent at Capital One Arena.

The Wahoos (23-9) boosted their NCAA Tournament hopes in the process, and will have at least one more opportunity to do so in Friday’s semifinal against No. 10 NC State. The Wolfpack upset second-seeded and 11th-ranked Duke in Thursday’s third quarterfinal matchup.

The Eagles (19-15) led for the majority of the way against UVA — 33 minutes and 43 seconds of regulation, to be exact. The Hoos remained within striking distance, however, despite not making a shot from the field for the final 5:48 of the second half.

That bucket was a Dante Harris jumper that tied the score at 53-all, but BC senior 7-footer Quinten Post answered with a baby hook over Blake Buchanan on the ensuing trip, and BC was back in front by two with 5:20 to go.

Virginia misfired on its next four attempts from the field, but also had several chances from the free-throw line, and the team’s struggles resurfaced at the most inopportune time down the stretch.

Harris missed a pair of foul shots that could have tied it with 4:16 remaining, then Jordan Minor came up empty on the front end of a one-and-one coming out of the final media break with 3:23 on the clock, and BC clung to a two-point edge, but couldn’t add to the lead.

Isaac McKneely, who suffered an ankle injury in practice earlier in the week, hadn’t scored all night until drawing a crucial foul on a 3-point try with 2:55 on the clock.

After missing the first of three and drawing groans from the pro-UVA crowd, McKneely drained his next two free throws, tying the contest at 55.

Minor came up with a huge block of Post’s shot attempt with 1:20 remaining, and drew two more free throws on the other end with exactly 60 ticks showing, but couldn’t put the Hoos in front.

After getting a stop on the ensuing BC possession, Jake Groves secured the defensive rebound and was fouled by Mason Madsen with 29.2 seconds left, and the graduate transfer from Oklahoma nailed them both, putting the Cavaliers ahead, 57-55.

The Eagles left it up to Claudell Harris — who opened the game with three triples across the first 2:27 of action — to go for the win, but his 3-point try was off the mark in the final seconds of regulation.

Madsen was there for the all-important offensive rebound, however, and was able to get off a long jumper at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

“One thing that never changed towards the end was our defense,” Groves said afterwards. “I thought guys were really gritty, especially like Coach said Jordan coming in, and that was a huge lift, huge help. And then guys just playing team defense around him. I know we didn’t clean up that one rebound, but coming back into the huddle, we were optimistic about overtime.”

McKneely sank his only field goal of the night (1 for 8; 1 for 6) to start the OT period, and boy, was it a big one; a 3-pointer with 4:22 to go that put the Hoos ahead to stay, 60-57.

Reece Beekman, who also had a rough shooting night (4 for 17), followed that up with his only 3-ball of the game (1 of 5) with 1:55 on the clock to push the UVA lead to six, set up by a McKneely head fake and dish.

Harris finally got BC on the board with 57.3 seconds to go with his fourth 3-pointer of the night (13th of the tournament) to make it a one-possession game, 63-60, but Minor put the exclamation point on with a bucket with 35.3 to go.

When Harris missed a long desperation 3 on the opposite end, the Eagles recovered the rebound, but Minor, who had another important steal against Post earlier in overtime, intercepted a pass from Jaeden Zackery and split a pair of free throws with 14.3 ticks remaining for the final tally.

The Eagles jumped out to a 9-2 lead to start the contest, thanks to Harris’ hot early shooting, but the Cavalier defense limited the BC marksman to just 5 points on 2-of-13 shooting (1 for 8 from 3) after his early onslaught.

“They got some transition buckets and some offensive rebounds, and I just thought they hit us in the mouth first, but we stayed the course, got some stops, and then got to it,” Tony Bennett said of his team’s fight.

Virginia shot 40 percent on the evening (25 for 62) and 32 percent (8 of 25) from long distance. The Hoos shot an abysmal 44 percent from the charity stripe (8 for 18), with all 10 misses coming after halftime.

UVA won the rebounding battle, 45-38, and outscored the Eagles in the paint (24-20), on the fast break (10-6) and via the bench (26-2). Each team turned the ball over 7 times.

Groves led the team in scoring with 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting (3 for 7 from deep), and in the rebounding category with 11, while Murray (5 for 6 FG) and Beekman added 11 points each. Beekman also dished out a game-high 11 assists.

“Taine picked up where he left off from our last game and then just carried it, and we knew we were going to need that,” said Bennett.

Andrew Rohde provided a spark off the bench as well, finishing with 8 points (3 for 7 FG; 2 for 6 from downtown) and a pair of assists, while Ryan Dunn added 7 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals.

Post led all scorers with 23 points on 9-for-20 shooting (3 of 6 from beyond the arc) to go along with a game-high 13 boards, while Harris added 14 points and Madsen had 9 in the losing effort, as the Eagles shot 36 percent from the field (24 for 66) and 31 percent from long distance (9 for 29).

“I think at the end, you could tell that [the Cavaliers had] been off for a couple days and they had a fresh set of legs, and our players kept fighting,” BC head coach Earl Grant said. “But [the Hoos] made some tough shots. They’ve got a great program. They’ve been good for years. We look forward to continuing to build our program so we can have that type of endurance in these games like this.”

Team Notes

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

  • Virginia (23-9, 13-7 ACC) advances to the ACC semifinals for eighth time in the last 10 tournaments
  • UVA has 23 or more wins for the 10th time under Tony Bennett
  • UVA is 8-7 away from home, including a 3-1 mark on neutral courts
  • UVA is 2-0 in overtime games this season (UVA outscored BC 9-3 in the extra session)
  • Virginia rallied from a 10-point deficit (18-8) to post its third comeback victory when trailing by 10 or more points
  • UVA went on a 15-4 run to gain a 23-22 lead
  • BC led 35-29 at the half and UVA is 3-9 when trailing at halftime
  • UVA’s outscored BC in bench points 26-2
  • UVA out-rebounded BC 45-38, improving to 12-0 when enjoying a rebound edge
  • UVA went 8 of 18 from the free throw line

UVA All-Time in the ACC Tournament

  • UVA has posted a 3-4 mark as the No. 3 seed in tournament
  • UVA has a program-best one win in each of the last nine ACC tournaments
  • The Cavaliers are 47-65 all-time in the ACC Tournament and 4-2 in Washington, D.C., reaching the title game in 2016
  • UVA is 5-3 in overtime games at the ACC Tournament
  • UVA is 2-0 vs. No. 11 seeds at the ACC Tournament
  • UVA is 28-37 in the ACC quarterfinals

Series Notes

  • Virginia is 21-9 all-time vs. Boston College, including a 2-1 mark in the ACC Tournament, in a series that dates to 1971-72
  • The Cavaliers met the Eagles in the ACC Tournament for the first time since posting a 68-62 win in the 2010 first round in Greensboro, N.C.
  • UVA posted a 72-68 win at Boston College on Feb. 28
  • UVA has won 14 of the last 17 games in the series
  • Head coach Tony Bennett is 15-6 all-time against Boston College

Player Notes

  • Double Figure Scorers: Jake Groves (15), Taine Murray (11), Reece Beekman (11)
  • Groves reached double figures for the 37th time (11th at UVA)
  • Groves added a career-high 11 rebounds for his first career double-double
  • Groves (3 3-pointers) drilled three or more 3-pointers for the sixth time in 2023-24
  • Murray reached double figures for the fifth time (4 in 2023-24)
  • Murray has scored in double figures in two straight games
  • Reece Beekman tied a career high with 11 assists, moving into sixth on UVA’s single-season assist list with 197
  • Beekman recorded his seventh career 10-assist game
  • Beekman recorded his fifth career double-double
  • Beekman reached double figures for the 57th time (27 in 2023-24)
  • Beekman moved into 41st on UVA’s all-time scoring list with 1,163 points
  • Andrew Rohde (8 points) and Murray (11 points) led UVA’s bench scoring


The Hoos will face the Wolfpack in Friday night’s second semifinal (tipoff at approximately 9:30 p.m, ESPN2), with a spot in Saturday’s championship game on the line (see full bracket below). The two longtime ACC rivals split the regular-season series, with State winning in Raleigh, 76-60, on Jan. 6 and the Cavaliers returning the favor at John Paul Jones Arena in OT, 59-53, on Jan. 24.