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#15 Virginia rebounds after ugly loss: Dominates Saint Francis in 76-51 win

casey morsell
Casey Morsell launches a three against Saint Francis. Photo by Andrew Shurtleff/courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

That was a Virginia team that did its soul-searching, and decided that it wants to be great.

Tony Bennett laid down the challenge after the listless 61-60 loss to San Francisco last week in Bubbleville.

“Look at it in the mirror, grow from it. Forget about it,” was the message.

Message: received.

The ‘Hoos didn’t let a Saint Francis team that won at Pitt last week entertain anything in the way of positive thoughts, jumping out to a 21-4 lead in the opening 7:22, stretching the margin to 45-13 at the half, and coasting from there on its way to a 76-51 win Tuesday in front of a handful of friends and family at JPJ.

Which is to say, no, it wasn’t loud – the gameday operations staff tried to add crowd noise over the sound system, but it sounded a tad bit tinny, more like what you’d expect to hear from a busy train station than a basketball arena, but still, they tried.

The product on the court was more what the fans watching from home had expected, and got a glimpse of last week in the season-opening 89-45 win over Towson.

UVA (2-1) shot 66.7 percent from the floor in that dominant first half, getting 12 assists on its 18 made baskets, 11 of the makes being layups or dunks.

One item of note came ahead of the opening tip: Bennett went with freshman Reece Beekman starting at the point, ahead of junior Kihei Clark, who had struggled really on both ends of the floor – allowing opponents to score 1.56 points per possession, shooting 36.4 percent from the floor with a ghastly 23.8 percent turnover rate.

Bennett called it a “personal decision” after the game, and while Beekman didn’t exactly fill up the stat sheet – scoring two points on 1-of-3 shooting in 22 minutes, with four assists and no turnovers – the offense, in particular, seemed to flow better with him on the floor, and he did register a team-best plus/minus of +28.

Clark didn’t score, going 0-of-3 from the floor, with three assists and three turnovers in 15 minutes, with a plus/minus of +5.

Jay Huff led four Cavaliers in double figures with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting in 14 minutes.

Kadin Shedrick had a game – the redshirt freshman had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and eight rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press