Those shots wouldn’t have come without key contributions from Isaiah Wilkins and Jarred Reuter.
Reuter scored 11 points in 16 minutes off the bench, seven in a first half that saw UVA shoot 18.2 percent from the field. Wilkins had five points, but three of them were supersize huge, coming on a stickback and-one with 2:03 to go that cut a six-point deficit in half.
“He stepped up at the right time, and he hit that shot and got fouled and hit the free throw,” senior forward Anthony Gill said of Wilkins. “That was big of him, and that shows the toughness that he has to be able to step up and really hit that free throw at the end. We really needed that. It was a momentum swing for us just to get us back in the game.”
Reuter, a freshman who had played a grand total of 17 minutes in his last six games, may have moved a step up in coach Tony Bennett’s rotation with his effort Tuesday night.
“I thought Jarred gave us a great lift. Here’s a guy who hasn’t played much. We used him today, and he was solid tonight,” Bennett said.
Wilkins, a sophomore, had already played his way off the bench into a starting role in the frontcourt. Tuesday was his second start of the season, and his five-point, seven-rebound output is only going to cement his place in the starting lineup.
The challenge is out there for senior Mike Tobey, the 2015 ACC Sixth Man of the Year. Tobey got just seven minutes Tuesday, and didn’t get off the bench after halftime, scoring just two points and not recording a rebound.
With Gill and Wilkins apparently ensconced as the starters in the frontcourt, and Reuter putting in good minutes against Cal, Tobey is in a position of needing to earn more minutes.
Right now, Tobey is clearly a fourth option in the frontcourt, his minutes and productivity diminishing of late.
Tobey, through two games, averaged 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game, but since he is averaging 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 11.9 minutes per game.
– Story by Chris Graham