No. 4 Virginia survived its toughest test of the young season with a 66-59 win over Dayton on Thursday in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis at Paradise Island, Bahamas.
The Cavaliers will face off with Wisconsin for the third time in six seasons in Friday’s championship game.
Sophomore De’Andre Hunter was stellar for the second consecutive night as he scored a career-high 23 points to pace three Cavaliers in double figures. Hunter added six rebounds and was 6-6 from the free throw line.
Juniors Ty Jerome (15) and Kyle Guy (14) combined to score 29 points on the night but were a combined 8-21 from the field.
Virginia (5-0) never trailed in the second half despite shooting just 42.9 percent for the game.
Dayton (4-1) shot 54.3 percent but could never get closer than four points in the game’s final minutes. The Flyers also put three players in double figures as Josh Cunningham led the way with 15 points. Forward Obi Toppin scored 13 points on 6-7 shooting and Jalen Crutcher added 11 points.
The Cavaliers made 17 of their 22 free throws and knocked down a handful of clutch late-game shots to seal the seven-point win and preserve their spot in their sixth straight preseason tournament final.
Dayton scored the game’s first seven points before Virginia used an 18-10 run to take its first lead of the game at 18-17 on Hunter’s basket with 6:01 to play.
The Cavaliers shot just 37 percent in the half but led 27-22 after 20 minutes of play.
Hunter scored 10 first-half points while Guy added seven for the Cavaliers.
The Flyers shot 53 percent but turned the ball over 11 times to allow Virginia to get back into, and ultimately take the lead in the game. Cunningham had eight first-half points on 3-3 shooting.
—Field Level Media