Virginia’s Vander Plas was ‘everywhere’ in Wahoos’ win over Duke

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

If you’re familiar with the Apple TV series “Ted Lasso,” then you’ve no doubt heard of one of the main characters, Roy Kent, a star player for AFC Richmond.

After one of Kent’s best games, Richmond players and fans came up with a jingle that went: “He’s here, he’s there, he’s every f’ing where … Roy Kent.”

Well, that little diddy of a song could have been blurted out about Virginia’s Ben Vander Plas after the Cavaliers’ overtime victory over Duke on Saturday. BVP was literally everywhere.

Vander Plas may not have had the flashiest game of his Virginia career, but it had to be one of — if not the most effective 30 minutes he’s ever played.

The grad transfer from Ohio University had a plus-20 rating, by far the highest of any player on the floor for either team in UVA’s 69-62, overtime win over the Blue Devils.

Not only did he score 13 points on a 4-of-7 shooting performance from the field (plus 5 of 11 from the free-throw line), but he added 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals and a blocked shot. One statistic that jumped off the page, though, was that Vander Plas drew 11 fouls on the Blue Devils.

His defense against Duke’s two seven-footers, especially the Blue Devils’ top player, Kyle Filipowski, was outstanding. While UVA double-teamed Filipowski most of the game, Vander Plas was basically assigned to slow down the Duke star.

Filipowski, who averaged 15.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, was held scoreless for the first time in his career, going 0 for 6 from the field and 0 for 2 at the line. He had six rebounds and five turnovers in 30 minutes of action.

When asked if he realized he had drawn 11 Duke fouls, the mustachioed Vander Plas grinned and said, “I think a decent amount of those were charges. That’s part of my game that I like, so it was good to take some charges today.”

Filipowski was called for four fouls.

“A big emphasis for us was just getting the ball stopped, keeping it out of the paint,” Vander Plas said. “[Duke] ran a lot of middle ball screens and I think we did a really good job on the ball screen. It was really a team effort with everybody kind of covering for each other. That’s what got us through.”

Virginia outscored Duke in the paint by a 42-24 count.

Like everyone else inside sold-out John Paul Jones Arena (14,629), Vander Plas said he held his breath at the end of regulation when game officials reviewed a literal last-second foul call on Ryan Dunn, which was later waved off, sending the game into overtime (see related stories on this site).

“Yeah, for a couple of seconds there I was, because when the play happened you couldn’t even hear the whistle, and then you see the ref’s hands go up,” BVP said. “I don’t even know what the actual call was, but Coach (Jason) Williford said we’re going overtime, so let’s just get back, and that was before [officials] even made the call. Going into overtime we executed and came out on top.”