CHARLOTTESVILLE — Virginia missed shots early, often and late Tuesday night, and by the time the final buzzer sounded, the Cavaliers had missed out on a chance to play at Madison Square Garden.
Virginia simply dug itself too big of a hole during a dreadful start, and didn’t help itself with some sloppy play late during a 59-53 loss to Delaware in the quarterfinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off at John Paul Jones Arena. The Blue Hens will now move on to the semifinal round in New York during Thanksgiving weekend, while Virginia (1-2) settles for two consolation games next week in Charlottesville.
“It’s a heartbreaker,” forward Darion Atkins said. “We really wanted to go [to Madison Square Garden]. Honestly, we all know that we’re better than Delaware. We can’t take it back.”
Guard Joe Harris led the Cavaliers with a game-high 20 points, forward Akil Mitchell notched a double-double (15 points and 13 rebounds) and Atkins contributed 11 points off the bench, but Virginia couldn’t come up with a basket when it counted most.