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Virginia loses 62-58 to Preston, Ohio, ending title defense

NCAA Virginia Ohio Basketball
Posted at 9:49 PM, Mar 20, 2021

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Virginia’s unusual title defense ended with another upset loss in the NCAA Tournament, falling 62-58 to Jason Preston and Ohio on Saturday.

Some familiar problems showed up again for the fourth-seeded Cavaliers, who struggled to score during a key stretch in the second half and shot 35% from the field for the game. Virginia became the first No. 1 seed to drop its opening game in the NCAA Tournament when it lost to UMBC in 2018, but it used the setback as motivation in its run to the championship in 2019.

Last year’s NCAA Tournament was canceled because of the pandemic, delaying the Cavaliers’ title defense. They just arrived in Indiana on Friday because of COVID-19 issues, and now they are heading home again.

Ben Vander Plas and Jason Preston delivered for Ohio after leading the Bobcats to the Mid-American Conference Tournament title.

Vander Plas scored eight of his game-high 17 points during an 18-4 second-half run that erased a 38-31 deficit and gave the Bobcats a 49-42 lead. Ohio (17-7) never trailed again.

Preston finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. Lunden McDay sealed the victory at the free-throw line in the closing seconds.