Boeheim on UVA: ‘I thought they’d be better defensively than last year’

uva basketballNow, keep in mind, Jim Boeheim and his Syracuse squad had just scored as many points against UVA as Cole Anthony did in his college debut against Notre Dame earlier in the night.

He might have been surprised at the 34 points for his Orange, but he wasn’t surprised that Virginia was as good as it was on the defensive end.

“I thought they’d be better defensively than last year. I know that (UVA coach) Tony (Bennett) won’t agree with me, but I think we were able to get by guys sometimes,” Boeheim said after the 48-34 UVA win.

Syracuse shot 23.6 percent from the field (13-of-56) and 17.2 percent from three-point range (17.2 percent) on the night.

Both teams were working several new guys into their rotations. Both are also known for being particularly tough teams to play because of what they can do on the defensive end, Virginia with its Pack Line, Syracuse with its 2-3 zone.

The ‘Hoos struggled in terms of taking care of the ball against the zone, committing 16 turnovers, but shot a decent 40.8 percent from the field, though they were an anemic 4-of-25 (16 percent) from three-point range.

When UVA was able to get the ball into the paint, bigs Mamadi Diakite (6-of-10 shooting, 12 points, six rebounds) and Jay Huff (5-of-6 shooting, 11 points, 12 rebounds) were able to finish.

The Cavaliers were 13-for-18 on shots in the paint.

But Bennett knows with the lack of experience in the backcourt, the calling card for this team will be on the defensive end.

“It’s one game, but we worked hard,” Bennett said. “Syracuse may have not been at their best, they missed some shots and I get all of that. We sometimes have to ask, Who are we? And we’re still trying to figure that out but I think we will definitely be a defensive team.”

Story by Chris Graham

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