Virginia dominates Miami, 60-38, extending winning streak to seven games

By Scott Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia looked like a well-oiled machine on both ends of the floor against visiting Miami on Monday night in front of a national TV audience, cruising to a 60-38 win.

The Cavaliers (18-5, 9-3 ACC) extended their overall winning streak to seven games, and stretched their nation-longest home winning streak to 23 games (12-0 this season) in the process.

Several NBA scouts were in the house at John Paul Jones Arena on “White-Out” night, and they saw UVA point guard Reece Beekman put on a show, leading all scorers with 16 points to go along with a game-high 7 assists.

Jake Groves, meanwhile, remained on a hot streak, adding 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting (2 for 4 from deep) in just 17-plus minutes off the bench, as the Wahoos overcame an early deficit and established a big lead — and did a lot of it with their defense.

On the evening, the Cavaliers held the Hurricanes (15-8, 6-6) to 29-percent shooting (14 for 49), including only 10 percent (2 for 20) from beyond the arc, converting 11 Miami giveaways into 15 points on the opposite end. UVA racked up 8 blocks and 7 steals on the night.

“I just thought our guys — like we’ve done the last few games — we’ve moved hard on offense and tried to play really hard defensively,” said Tony Bennett, whose team continues to inch its way into the NCAA Tournament discussion. “We just really tried to focus on not letting [the Hurricanes] get stuff in transition. That was really important, because they can get going.”

Things didn’t look so spectacular early on, as Virginia misfired on 8 of its first 9 field-goal attempts to start the contest and trailed by a 7-2 margin before a Beekman layup sparked a 12-0 run, which was capped by back-to-back triples by Isaac McKneely and Groves, who scored 7 points during that stretch.

When a Norchad Omier bucket cut the lead back to three moments later, the Hoos used another Cavalanche — this one was an 11-0 spurt — to push the lead to 25-11 with 3:30 until halftime, as Taine Murray drilled a corner 3 off of a Blake Buchanan block of an Omier shot attempt.

The highlight of the stretch was a pair of plays from Ryan Dunn, who hammered home a two-hand, baseline jam to electrify the JPJ crowd before blocking a Miami shot on the ensuing possession and showing off more of his impressive athleticism with a nifty layup finish in transition.

It all forced Miami coach Jim Larrañaga to burn a timeout to settle things down, as his squad was in the middle of an extended 23-4 UVA run over a 10-minute stretch, and had missed nine of its last 11 shots. To add to Larranaga’s concerns, starting guard Kyshawn George — who had scored in double digits in four of his previous five games — left the floor with an injury just minutes into the contest.

Virginia led by a dozen, 29-17, at the break, and picked up right where it left off to start the second half, outscoring the Canes 13-2 across the opening six-plus minutes.

Dunn again had a big role in the scoring spurt, swatting away another Miami shot attempt that led to a Beekman 3-pointer on one trip, then flushing home an alley-oop dunk from Beekman to push the lead to 21.

From there, it was just a matter of taking care of the ball and limiting miscues, and the Hoos did a tremendous job in both categories, committing just 3 turnovers all night and assisting on 20 of their 26 made field goals.

Virginia shot 48 percent (26 for 54) from the field and 46 percent (5 for 11) from long distance, making good on half of their trips to the charity stripe (3 for 6). The Cavaliers were outrebounded, 35-34, but outscored Miami 32-18 in the paint and 23-15 off the bench.

In addition to Beekman’s and Groves’ strong performances, McKneely finished with 9 points, grabbed 6 boards, dished out 4 assists and came away with a pair of steals. Dunn had 8 points, a team-high 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals.

“I think right now, we’re obviously playing our best basketball of the year, which is awesome, considering it’s February,” said Groves, who is averaging 14 points per game over his last four outings (14 for 20 from the bonusphere during that span). “And I think a lot of that is due to the rotation, the roles that guys have kind of stepped into and that guys are finding.”

Miami, which wound up with its lowest point total in any game since reinstating its program in 1985, missed all 10 of its 3-point tries in the second half. Nijel Pack, who had registered double figures in each of his last 7 games (and 10 of his last 11), was held to a season-low 2 points on 0-for-8 shooting (0 for 5 from downtown).

Omier led the Hurricanes in scoring (11 points) and rebounding (a game-high 13), while none of his teammates reached double figures. Wooga Poplar, arguably the conference’s top perimeter shooter, made just 3 of his 12 attempts (2 for 7 from 3).

Larrañaga was so frustrated after the loss that he was essentially in and out of the media room before most reporters had even arrived to ask questions about the lopsided affair.

“The game,” Larrañaga responded, when asked what changed after his team jumped out to a quick lead, which turned out to be the lone question of the press conference. “[The Cavaliers] just outplayed us in every aspect of the game. We didn’t play well, they played really well. Thank you for your attention.”

Team Notes

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

  • UVA (18-5, 9-3 ACC) has a seven-game win streak
  • UVA extended its nation-leading home win streak to 23 games (13-0 this season)
  • UVA held the Hurricanes to their lowest scoring output since Dec. 28, 1948 (Miami 37-35 over Princeton)
  • The Cavaliers are 29-0 when holding foes to fewer than 40 points under Tony Bennett
  • UVA is 114-2, including a 5-0 mark in 2023-24, when limiting foes to fewer then 50 points during the Bennett era
  • UVA tied a season low with three turnovers
  • UVA had 15 stocks (8 blocks and 7 steals)
  • UVA used a 9-0 run to gain a 21-point lead at 14:23 second half
  • UVA led 29-17 at the half, improving to 17-0 when leading at halftime
  • UVA went on a 23-4 run to lead 25-11 at 3:29 first half
  • UVA went on a 12-0 run to gain a 14-7 lead at 8:48 first half
  • UVA forced one shot clock violation (18 in 2023-24)

Series Notes

  • Virginia is 16-13 all-time vs. Miami in the series that dates to 1965-66
  • UVA has a four-game win streak against Miami at John Paul Jones Arena
  • UVA is 10-4, including a 8-2 mark at JPJ, against the Hurricanes in Charlottesville
  • UVA has limited Miami to 58 or fewer points in seven of the last nine meetings
  • Head coach Tony Bennett is 13-7 all-time against Miami
  • The 22-point margin of victory was the second largest in the series vs. Miami

Player Notes

  • Double Figure Scorers: Reece Beekman (16), Jake Groves (12)
  • Beekman reached double figures for the 49th time
  • Beekman moved into 49th on UVA’s all-time scoring list with 1,018 points
  • Beekman (7 assists) moved into fifth on UVA’s all-time assist list with 575
  • Groves reached double figures for the 34th time (8th at UVA)
  • Groves (2 of 4 3-pointers) is 14 of 222 from 3-point range over the past four games, sinking 2+ in each of the four contests
  • Taine Murray matched a career high with four assists
  • Isaac McKneely tied a season high with four assists


Virginia travels to the Sunshine State on Saturday to face Florida State (8 p.m., The CW Network).