Gardner, No. 3 Virginia rally for narrow win at Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Jayden Gardner made a go-ahead jumper with 39.9 seconds left and blocked Jett Howard's 3-point shot just before the buzzer, allowing No. 3 Virginia to hold on and beat Michigan 70-68 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night.
The Cavaliers (6-0) trailed by 11 points at halftime, rallied to go ahead with 7:25 left and built a five-point lead that didn't last.
The Wolverines (5-2) went ahead 66-65 at the 1:42 mark when Hunter Dickinson made one of two free throws, but the standout center missed a hook shot in the final minute.
Reece Beekman, who finished with 18 points, stole the ball from Michigan's Jaelin Llewellyn with 16 seconds remaining and made one of two free throws.
Virginia's Armaan Franklin missed two free throws with 5.7 seconds left, giving Michigan a chance to extend or win the game. Howard took a contested shot beyond the 3-point arc on the right wing, near his father, coach Juwan Howard, and Gardner came up with the block against the freshman guard while Michigan's bench screamed for a foul call.
Kihei Clark scored 16 points, Gardner had 12, Kadin Shedrick fouled out with 12 points and Ben Vander Plas added 10 for the balanced Cavaliers.
Dickinson scored 23 points, Jett Howard had 11 of his 15 in the first half and Kobe Bufkin added 11 points for Michigan.
The Wolverines started slowly, trailing 9-2 in the opening minutes, before Howard scored eight points to lead a 13-2 run. Michigan led 45-34 at halftime when Bufkin made a layup after a steal.
Vander Plas scored nine points during an 11-2 run that put Virginia ahead 65-60. The Cavaliers then went 4 1/2 minutes without a basket before Gardner's big shot.
Virginia: The Cavaliers have their highest ranking since the 2018-19 season — which ended with a national title — and are off to their best start since being 7-0 three years ago. The team continues to honor the memory of three football players who were fatally shot on campus earlier this month, wearing warmup jerseys with their names.
Michigan: Juwan Howard's team matched up well in its first game against a ranked opponent this season.
Virginia: Hosts Florida State (1-7) on Saturday.
Michigan: Plays No. 19 Kentucky (5-2) on Sunday in London.
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