Focus | Cavs grow in 76-55 win over Oral Roberts
Story by Chris Graham
With AFP Audio
“I think the adjustments were solid. The guys played a little harder and smarter,” coach Tony Bennett said after UVa.’s 76-55 win over Oral Roberts on Saturday in Charlottesville.
It was the second win in three nights for Virginia in the Cancun Challenge, which shifts to Cancun, Mexico, next week, where the Cavaliers will take on Stanford on Tuesday with a possible matchup with fourth-ranked Kentucky on Wednesday looming.
The first two Challenge wins were more impressive than the names of the opponents might indicate. Virginia’s 79-46 win over Rider on Thursday came against a team that owns a win over preseason #18 Mississippi State, and the win over Oral Roberts came against a group that opened the Cancun Challenge on Wednesday with an 83-81 win at Stanford.
Tony Bennett postgame press conference (11:04)
ACCVirginia.com interview: Sylven Landesberg (1:26)
ACCVirginia.com interview: Sammy Zeglinski (1:30)
ACCVirginia.com interview: Assane Sene (2:35)
“I think we’re playing well. I think defensively we’re making a lot of strides,” said sophomore point guard Sammy Zeglinski, who scored 13 points in 23 minutes after getting into foul trouble in the first half.
“We’ve got a lot more to learn and a lot to do, but if we keep playing defense like this, then we’ll shock the nation,” said junior forward Mike Scott, who led UVa. with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
It’s a stretch to suggest this early that the ‘Hoos will be shocking anybody, but the defense is at least getting the attention of people like Dick Bennett, Tony Bennett’s father and himself a legendary college coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin and Washington State, who was overhead after the game talking about his surprise not necessarily at how well his son’s team is playing, but how well the UVa. squad is picking up the new concepts of the Bennett system.
Defense is the key to the Bennett system, and defense stood out on the stat sheet with Oral Roberts shooting 32.1 percent from the floor (18-56) for the game and just 25.9 percent (7-27) in a 20-point second half.
Virginia shot 45.5 percent from the floor (25-55).
Sylven Landesberg (14 points) and Mustapha Farrakhan (13 points) joined Scott and Zeglinski in double figures for the Cavs (3-1 in 2009-2010).
Kevin Ford led Oral Roberts (2-2 in ’09-’10) with 16 points and 10 rebounds.