Gardner powers Virginia to 63-53 victory over Georgia Tech

Feb 12, 2022, 1:30 AM | Updated: 3:37 pm
Georgia Tech center Rodney Howard (24) dunks the ball during an NCAA college basketball game agains...

Georgia Tech center Rodney Howard (24) dunks the ball during an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)

(AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Jayden Gardner scored 26 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots to propel Virginia to a 63-53 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Gardner sank 10 of 19 shots from the floor and all six of his free throws to help the Cavaliers (16-9, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their fourth straight game. He has scored in double figures in nine straight. Kihei Clark hit three 3-pointers and scored 15. Virginia has won at least 10 conference games in 10 straight seasons.

Gardner had 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting to spark Virginia to a 32-19 lead at halftime. A dunk by Rodney Howard and a Michael Devoe 3-pointer pulled Georgia Tech (10-13, 3-10) within 49-47 with 5:44 remaining, but Gardner hit back-to-back buckets to push the Cavaliers’ lead back to two possessions with 4:58 left.

After Jordan Usher scored in the paint for Georgia Tech, Francisco Caffaro hit the second of two free throws and Kihei Clark buried a 3-pointer to push Virginia’s lead to 57-49 with 2:34 to go. Georgia Tech got no closer than six from there.

Devoe led the Yellow Jackets with 17 points. Usher pitched in with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Howard scored 10 off the bench.

Virginia has won nine straight against the Yellow Jackets and Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett upped his record to 16-2 against Georgia Tech. The last time Georgia Tech won on Virginia’s home floor was a 92-82 overtime victory on Jan. 27, 2008.

Virginia travels to play Virginia Tech on Monday. Georgia Tech returns home to host North Carolina State on Monday.

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Gardner powers Virginia to 63-53 victory over Georgia Tech