Home #23 Virginia, as expected, easily dispatches North Carolina Central, 77-47
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#23 Virginia, as expected, easily dispatches North Carolina Central, 77-47

Chris Graham
Photo: UVA Athletics

#23 Virginia had no trouble with a North Carolina Central University team missing three starters, winning 77-47 on Tuesday night in JPJ.

UVA (8-1, 1-0 ACC) now gets a 10-day break for final exams before returning on Dec. 16 with a home game against Northeastern.

The only mystery going into this one was whether the pending exam break would be on the minds of the Virginia kids.

If it was for some of the guys, Isaac McKneely took care of things – hitting four threes in the first 3:07 on his way to his second straight 22-point effort.

McKneely, as was the case in the 84-62 win over Syracuse on Saturday, was 8-of-11 from the floor and 6-of-8 from three in 26 minutes.

If iMac is going to start doing that every night, you know, that would be a good thing.

Virginia led 41-17 at the break and extended the lead to as many as 39 in the second half.

This created lots of garbage time for coach Tony Bennett, who was able to get an extended look at freshman Elijah Gertrude, who just made his season debut last week after changing his mind on this being a redshirt year, and scored 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting in 17 minutes off the bench in this one.

Eleven shots is a lot of shots for a true freshman in his third game.

Five of them were threes, and he made just one of them.

Redshirt freshman Leon Bond III had 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, a team-high nine boards and three assists in 21 minutes off the bench.

It was Bond’s third double-digit scoring game of the season – he had 12 on 4-of-5 shooting and nine rebounds in the 80-50 win over Tarleton State in the Nov. 6 season opener, and 16 on 8-of-10 shooting in the 80-51 win over North Carolina A&T on Nov. 14.

In Virginia’s five games against Power 5 opponents, Bond is averaging 3.2 points (on 7-of-20 shooting, 35.0 percent) and 2.8 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game.

That’s the next mountain for LB3 to climb.

The extended look at Jordan Minor, the Merrimack grad transfer, didn’t go so well. Minor, who averaged 17.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game as a senior last season, isn’t working out, clearly, at Virginia, where he’s averaging 1.4 points in 6.7 minutes per game.

Minor got 11 minutes on Tuesday night, missed all four of his shots, contributing three rebounds and two assists, with two turnovers.

The clock is at 11:59:59 for Minor in terms of him being able to earn meaningful playing time this season.

Not much else to write here.

Somehow, Virginia jumped up three spots in KenPom, from 26 to 23, so, there’s that.

KenPom has the defensive efficiency (0.906 points per possession) at fourth nationally, which is nice.

The offense – egads – is 79th (1.101 PPP).

That’s probably a function of the small sample size, and one of the samples being 41 points in the loss to Wisconsin last week.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].