Virginia survives triple-OT thriller: 5 takeaways


Virginia survives triple-OT thriller: 5 takeaways

The first ACC matchup between Virginia and Syracuse was one to remember as the Cavaliers put together a critical fourth-quarter drive to setup a game-tying field goal and force overtime. Both teams traded punches in overtime until Virginia walked away with the 44-38 win.

Here are five takeaways from UVa's first ACC win of the season:

The drive: Down by 3 in the fourth quarter, Virginia put together their best drive of the season thanks to some timely plays and a little luck.

Facing a 3rd and 15, Virginia was given a first down thanks to a face mask penalty. On 4th and 3, Johns dumped the ball off to Taquan Mizzell who weaved his way 11 yards for the first down. In all, Virginia drove 88 yards in 18 plays to setup a game-tying 25-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime.

Slow start: Virginia's fourth quarter drive was made all the more remarkable by the offense's horrific start to the game. The Cavaliers had nine yards in the first quarter and did not get a first down until about four minutes in to the second. Two plays after they did register a first down, Syracuse returned a Mizzell fumble 44 yards for a touchdown.

In their first four drives, Virginia had 26 yards, one first down and no points. Who would have expected them to be able to pull off that tremendous fourth-quarter comeback?

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Goal line stand: While things were ugly for the offense early, Virginia's defense did not allow Syracuse to take advantage thanks in large part to a key goal line stand to close out the end of the first quarter.

Syracuse had a 1st and goal at Virginia's 2-yard line, but the Cavaliers forced a nine-yard loss on the play. Dontae Strickland took it back down to the goal line on second down, but the Cavaliers stuffed two runs from their own 1 to force a turnover on downs and keep the Orange off the board.

Fake punt fakes out UVa: Fake punts are nothing new for Syracuse's Riley Dixon. The only thing that was surprising when he took off for a first down on a fake punt against Virginia was how much it seemed to catch the Cavaliers off guard.

Dixon threw a game-winning touchdown pass on a fake field goal in Syracuse's season opener last year and also added a 42 -yard fake punt run against Notre Dame. He made highlight reels across the nation for hurdling an LSU cornerback earlier in the season and Saturday was the third-straight game in which he ran a fake punt.

So, when Dixon took the field on a 4th and 4 on Syracuse's 44-yard line with 2:49 remaining in the first half, why oh why did Virginia look lost when Dixon pulled the ball in and took it 15 yards for the first down?

Syracuse was able to take the ball the remaining 42 yards for the touchdown just six plays later. In what became a very close game, these kind of plays can make all the difference between winning and losing. The key to a successful fake punt is surprise. At his point, how could anyone be surprised by the fake from Syracuse?

Leap of faith: One of the plays of the year took place in this game and it is one that safety Quin Blanding would like to forget.

After an interception put the Orange on Virginia's 26-yard line, quarterback Eric Dungey took off for the end zone. The last man in his way was Blanding, one of the best tacklers in the ACC. Rather than trying to run around him or through him, Dungey instead decided to hurdle over the 6-foot-2 sophomore on his way for the touchdown.

It may have come at the expense of the Cavaliers, but one couldn't help but be impressed at the athleticism of the freshman quarterback.

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Georgetown snaps 4-game road losing streak, tops Butler

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Georgetown snaps 4-game road losing streak, tops Butler

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marcus Derrickson tied a career-high with 27 points, on 11-of-13 shooting, for his eighth 20-plus point game this season and Georgetown beat Butler 87-83 on Tuesday night.

After Georgetown missed two free throws, Kamar Baldwin made a scoop shot in the lane and Sean McDermott stole the inbounds pass, leading to another Baldwin basket to pull Butler to 84-81 with 1:29 to go.

Butler had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds, but Baldwin's long 3-pointer was short and Jahvon Blair sealed it at the line at 4.5.

Jessie Govan had his 12th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds for Georgetown (15-10, 5-9 Big East). Trey Dickerson, a senior averaging 3.5 points per game, set a career-high in the first half with 12 points and finished with 18.

Kelan Martin had 22 points and eight rebounds to reach 20 points for the 17th time this season for Butler (17-10, 7-7). Tyler Wideman added 19 points and Baldwin had 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

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Virginia jumps to top of new AP poll for first time since 1982


Virginia jumps to top of new AP poll for first time since 1982

A loss didn't prevent Virginia from climbing to No. 1 in AP men's basketball poll for the first time in more than 35 years after all.

The Cavaliers rose a slot to sit atop Monday's AP Top 25 despite an overtime home loss Saturday to Virginia Tech, part of an upset-filled week that allowed for plenty of uncertainty in the poll. The Cavaliers (23-2, 12-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) earned 30 of 65 first-place votes to outdistance No. 2 Michigan State and rise above the turmoil that included last week's top three teams all losing.

Tony Bennett's Cavaliers had been at No. 2 before this season, but this is the first time the program has reached No. 1 since December 1982 — the senior season of 7-foot-4 great Ralph Sampson — back when the poll ranked only 20 teams. And that team fell out of that spot after its improbable upset loss to Chaminade in Hawaii, regarded by many as the biggest upset in the history of college sports.

Virginia looked set to reach the No. 1 spot after Villanova's home loss to St. John's before losing to the Hokies. Still, the Cavaliers ended up there a day after the NCAA selection committee had them as the No. 1 overall seed in its reveal of the top 16 seeds to date.

The Cavaliers — whose 12 previous weeks at No. 1 all came during the Sampson era — play with the top ranking for the first time since the Chaminade loss on Tuesday at Miami.

"I do not get too carried away with where we are," Bennett said after the loss to the Hokies. "I always say 'thus far,' and now we have to prove it again. ... Now we are going to get a chance to do it again and we are going to have to fight like crazy every game. Everybody is capable of beating everybody in this league and that is reality. If you are little off it is not enough."



Michigan State (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) climbed two spots after a weekend win against Purdue in a top-5 matchup. The Spartans, who reached No. 1 for a week in January, earned 21 first-place votes.

Next came Villanova (23-2, 10-2 Big East), who fell to third after a five-week stay at No. 1 and earned nine first-place votes. Xavier (23-3, 11-2 Big East) inched up a spot to fourth and earned five first-place votes, followed by Cincinnati (23-2, 12-0 American Athletic Conference) at No. 5.

This is Xavier's highest ranking in its history, while Cincinnati is in the top 5 for the first time since spending a good chunk of the 2001-02 season there.


Purdue (23-4, 12-2 Big East) fell from third to sixth after losing to Ohio State and Michigan State last week. Those losses snapped the nation's longest winning streak at 19 games, marking Purdue's first losses since falling to Tennessee and Western Kentucky on consecutive November days in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.

Texas Tech was next at No. 7, followed by Ohio State, Gonzaga and Auburn to round out the top 10.



Rivalry wins against Duke and North Carolina State helped North Carolina climb seven spots to No. 14 for the week's biggest jump. It continued the Tar Heels' wild swings in poll positioning, including a nine-slot drop last month and two other slides of eight slots.

Ohio State rose six spots to No. 8 after the Purdue win, while No. 11 Clemson was up five spots.


Oklahoma and freshman star Trae Young had the biggest fall of the week, down six spots to No. 23. The Sooners have lost three straight and six of eight after Saturday's loss at Iowa State .

St. Mary's (15th) and Arizona (17th) both fell four spots.


The newcomers aren't entirely new this week. Both No. 21 Texas A&M and No. 25 Arizona State have been ranked multiple weeks this season and appeared in the top 10, with the Sun Devils reaching No. 3 on Christmas Day.


Kentucky fell out of the rankings for the second time this season -- It hadn't happened since March 2014 before this year -- from No. 24 after three straight losses. Miami fell out from No. 25 after losing at Boston College.