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Clark, Key spark #19 Virginia past Hokies, 65-39

The Cavaliers (11-2, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 30-17 by halftime and built their lead to as many as 23 in the second half.
Credit: AP
Virginia guard Braxton Key (2) blocks Virginia Tech guard Landers Nolley II (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Kihei Clark‘s primary job as Virginia's point guard is to set up teammates for opportunities to score. For one game, at least, the sophomore served as the primary scorer for the No. 19 Cavaliers.

Clark scored a career-best 18 points to lead Virginia to a 65-39 victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday. Braxton Key had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, but it was Clark's performance that caught the attention of Hokies coach Mike Young.

"Obviously Clark got the best of him today in a matchup we needed to win," Young said, referring to Hokies point man Wabissa Bede, who was scoreless in 30-plus minutes with two assists. "He carved us up pretty good."

Clark has been turnover-prone in recent games, with coach Tony Bennett surmising that he was driving too deep into the lane before making passes. The adjustment they made in practice this week paid big dividends.

"We tried to open the court a little more and let him attack and make some decisions and he was really good," Bennett said.

The Cavaliers (11-2, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 30-17 by halftime and built their lead to as many as 23 in the second half. Key scored 11 in the first half and Clark had 10 after halftime.

"I felt like they were really keying in on the big guys, and so I just saw a lane and took advantage of it" said Clark, who was 5 for 9 from the field.

Landers Nolley II had 18 points for the Hokies (10-4, 1-2). He scored their last 15 in the first half but did not score again until a 3-pointer with 3:49 remaining. The Hokies' point total was their lowest since a 43-33 loss at East Carolina on Feb. 18, 1967.

Kody Stattmann added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Cavaliers, who won their eighth in the last 11 meetings with the Hokies.

The Hokies came in averaging 74 points, but were being outscored by Key and had only nine when coach Mike Young called a timeout with about 4 minutes left in the half. The Hokies shot 27.1% overall (13 for 48).