CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Sam Hauser never got to experience playing in front of a packed John Paul Jones Arena because of attendance limitations caused by the pandemic, but the senior transfer made sure he and Virginia would have something to celebrate after his final home game.
Hauser scored 18 points and the 21st-ranked Cavaliers ended a three-game skid by handing Miami its sixth loss in a row, 62-51 on Monday night.
“To be honest, fans or no fans, we got a win tonight,” Hauser said. “My family was here to see me play. We played well as a team. I couldn’t ask for much more.”
Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said one of his biggest regrets this season is that fans were not able to fill the arena and appreciate Hauser’s versatility in person.
“He gave us a big lift at different times and he’s playing some good basketball heading down the stretch,” Bennett said of Hauser, who transferred from Marquette.
Trey Murphy III added 12 points for the Cavaliers (16-6, 12-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), who took command with a 14-2 run to end the first half.
Virginia also got 20 points from its bench, led by Justin McKoy with eight.
“We’ve been playing five guys such heavy minutes and tonight, to be able to go to our bench when that group wasn’t as sharp as they needed to be was very important,” Bennett said.
Miami closed within six points several times after halftime, but each time Virginia kept the Hurricanes from getting closer.
Kameron McGusty scored 14 points and Elijah Olaniyi had 12 for Miami (7-16, 3-15), which was trying to make Jim Larranaga the 16th coach to win 100 ACC games in his career. Miami scored 18 points in the paint in the first half but only eight after halftime.
The Hurricanes led 28-27 with four minutes left in the first half but Murphy and Jay Huff each hit a pair of free throws for the Cavaliers. McKoy added a basket and Hauser hit two of his four 3-pointers to give Virginia a 39-30 lead. A layup by Murphy made it 41-30 at the break.
THE REAL McKOY
McKoy played 21 minutes and gave Virginia a big lift. He finished with six rebounds and scored six of his points in an 80-second span in the first half.
“He injected offensive rebounding, a couple buckets, just toughness and effort that was so lacking,” Bennett said. “It was really important. That’s what this team needs and he brought that.”
Miami: In what has been a long year for the injury-depleted Hurricanes, the last four minutes of the first half demonstrated one of their problems. They turned the ball over on four of five possessions as Virginia ran off 12 straight points.
“We had three turnovers to start the second half, just like we had three turnovers to end the first half,” Larranaga said.
Virginia: Bennett shuffled his lineup in hopes of finding a spark for his struggling team. Tomas Woldetensae was back in the starting five after missing two games because of contact tracing.
Neither Jay Huff nor Kihei Clark was on the floor to start the second half.
“I didn’t feel like those guys were ready,” Bennett said. “We had to go with what was giving us life.”
Clark had four early assists, then just one more the rest of the way. Huff scored seven points and had seven rebounds, but was 2 of 10 from the field.
Miami is at home against Boston College on Friday.
Virginia completes the regular season at Louisville on Saturday.