San Francisco pulls off first stunner of season with upset of No. 4 Virginia, winner of final NCAA Event

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. — It took roughly 50 hours for school basketball to get its first seismic upset of the 2020-21 season.

It additionally took San Francisco, this system of Invoice Russell, KC Jones and Invoice Cartwright, nearly 40 years to get a win over a top-five opponent because the unranked Dons defeated No. 4 Virginia 61-60 on Friday at Mohegan Solar Area.   

USF, which was two days faraway from a stunning and decisive loss to UMass Lowell, drained 13 3-pointers to stun the Cavaliers, the reigning NCAA Event champions. The Dons escaped with a program-defining victory after USF ahead Josh Kunen missed the entrance finish of a one-and-one after which watched as UVA senior Sam Hauser — a profession 44.5% 3-point shooter — missed a 3-pointer brief on the horn. 

Dons coach Todd Golden, a rising star within the trade, could not assist however break into a little bit dance outdoors the staff locker room moments afterward. Golden and Virginia coach Tony Bennett crossed paths and traded pleasantries within the hallway afterward. Golden was humbly beaming in victory. Bennett is aware of that feeling properly himself. 

“We aspire to be like your program,” Golden stated.

“You surpassed it as we speak,” Bennett replied. 

Golden informed CBS Sports activities this isn’t simply the most important win of his nascent teaching profession — it is the most important win he is ever been part of. The 35-year-old performed at Saint Mary’s and was on Gaels groups that pulled large upsets of Gonzaga within the mid-2000s. 

“That is my finest win as a participant or a coach,” Golden stated. “Actually, I am extra joyful with this as a result of being the coach of a younger group of men that work actually laborious and get to expertise that, it makes me really feel actually good.”

For this system, it is historic. USF had not overwhelmed a staff ranked within the prime 5 of the AP ballot since Dec. 29, 1981, when it defeated No. 2 Wichita State. And Virginia had not misplaced to a West Coast Convention staff in 15 years. It did not matter that no followers have been within the constructing on Friday, within the managed setting of “Bubbleville.” San Francisco was juiced — and celebrated accordingly within the locker room afterward. This was its third sport in as many days however there have been no drained legs. If something, Virginia offered USF adrenaline, whereas the alternative was true of Bennett’s Cavs.

“We did not appear like we have been transferring actual laborious and we seemed a little bit torpid at instances,” Bennett stated, later including, “everytime you’d make a little bit error, they’d capitalize.”

The result’s all of the extra shocking contemplating Virginia’s historic dominance in November underneath Bennett. UVA entered the day 67-11 in November in Bennett’s tenure and was coming off a 15-of-29 capturing show from 3-point vary in Wednesday’s blowout win over Towson. With sharpshooter Hauser and Rice switch Trey Murphy within the fold, the primary early return indicated the Wahoos could be sometimes elite on protection and undeniably upgraded on offense. That wasn’t the case on Friday. 

“Virginia, the way in which they play, it provides you an opportunity,” Golden stated. “Should you can deal with the ball, it provides you an opportunity as a result of they do not actually play for transition.”

USF pulled off an 8-0 run to go up 61-54 with 2:06 left. The Dons would not rating once more nevertheless it was barely sufficient to get by. If Hauser’s closing shot falls, it is a totally different story. The change in offense was vital for UVA. Bennett deployed a five-man movement offense vs. Towson — a method he is seldom ever used with Virginia — and the staff sank 15 triples. They tried some extra of that once more vs. USF however Golden’s staff was well-prepared for it and held UVA to 3-of-12 capturing from deep.

The Dons made extra 3-pointers (13) than Virginia tried. 

This sport is a microcosm of the upside and draw back to scheduling switching we’ll see round faculty hoops this season. After dropping the unique matchup vs. Florida, Bennett stated he had no remorse over taking the San Francisco sport regardless of the loss.

“That is faculty basketball this 12 months,” he stated. 

USF solely agreed to play this sport on a whim 4 days in the past, when it was on its strategy to Connecticut however ready on layover at Salina Regional Airport in Kansas. Nearly 90 hours later, San Francisco claims the most important win in 4 a long time for a proud program with two nationwide championships to its identify. Golden admitted he took the Virginia sport as a result of he was assured sufficient in his staff to suppose they’d be 2-0 after going through Lowell and Towson in back-to-back days. The UVA sport was a house-money proposition (in a on line casino resort, no much less). It did not work out that method, although. USF’s 76-68 loss to Lowell on Wednesday afternoon was a shock to the system. 

“[Towson] was a irritating sport for our program,” Golden stated. “We have been working towards one thing for eight months and you then lose that sport vs. UMass Lowell. As a coach, you begin query, man, do we all know what our staff is? Do we all know how good we may very well be?”

San Francisco did not look comfy within the first half vs. Towson, both. Then it clicked within the second half — Bennett admitted to me that USF’s play vs. Towson within the second half captured his consideration — and the Dons discovered their groove. 

“I informed them in opposition to Towson: that may be idiot’s gold,” Bennett stated. “You may fall in love with that, and photographs will come and go, however when the photographs aren’t there are you able to be sound sufficient offensively to take off the ball, to complete?”

Bennett stated all of the preseason rankings hype is now tossed away for his group. They need to be regular going ahead; the Cavaliers’ subsequent 4 video games are scheduled to be performed at residence. They now prep for a Saint Francis (Pa.) staff that is coming off a significant upset itself; the Pink Flash went into Pitt and shocked the Panthers on Wednesday evening. 

San Francisco is sticking round right here in Connecticut and on the hunt for one more W. It would attempt to enhance to 3-1 on Sunday when it faces a proficient and determined 0-2 Rhode Island staff that almost upset Arizona State on Wednesday evening. 

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