Top-seeded Virginia advanced to its third Sweet 16 in six seasons Sunday night with a 63-51 win over No. 9 seed Oklahoma in the second round of the NCAA Tournament’s South Region at Columbia, S.C.
Virginia (31-3) will now face either No. 12 seed Oregon or No. 13 seed UC Irvine in Thursday night’s regional semifinal in Louisville, Ky.
Mamadi Diakite got the start for the Cavaliers and provided a spark with a game-high 14 points and nine rebounds.
Virginia never trailed during the game’s final 30 minutes, leading by as many as 16 points while shooting 48 percent for the game. Despite a 2-for-15 shooting performance from junior Kyle Guy, the Cavaliers got 12 points from Ty Jerome and 10 from De’Andre Hunter to make up for the lack in scoring.
Oklahoma (20-14) shot just 37 percent as the Sooners struggled to hit shots against Virginia’s stout defense.
Senior Christian James scored 13 points and pulled down five rebounds in his final game with the Sooners.
The first half consisted of a flurry of runs as Virginia opened the game on a 7-0 spurt to set the early pace. Oklahoma answered with a 13-4 run to take the lead nearly midway through the half.
But Virginia allowed only nine more points for the final 10 minutes and closed on a 22-9 surge to take a 31-22 lead at halftime.
The Cavaliers shot 46 percent for the half while allowing the Sooners to shoot at just a 31 percent clip. Five Virginia turnovers kept Oklahoma in the game as the Sooners converted five points off those turnovers.
Brady Manek helped the Sooners on the offensive end with all 13 of his points coming in the first half.
Six players scored at least four points for Virginia in the first half.
Virginia outrebounded Oklahoma 36-29 and only turned the ball over six times while outscoring the Sooners 32-12 in the paint.
–Field Level Media