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Ninth-ranked UVA dispatches Columbia, 60-42, improves to 3-0

UVA basketballColumbia, with just over four minutes remaining in the game, did what Syracuse and James Madison could not do against Virginia: reach 35 points.

However, at that mark the Cavaliers were well on their way to another early-season blowout win, defeating the Lions 60-42 at the John Paul Jones Arena Saturday afternoon.

As expected, the ninth-ranked ‘Hoos took control early in the contest, jumping out to a 10-0 margin before Columbia got on the scoreboard. The Cavaliers led 31-17 at intermission and never looked back as coach Tony Bennett again was afforded the luxury of emptying his bench early.

Jay Huff sparked Virginia in the opening 20 minutes of play. Coming off the bench, the 7’1″ forward scored eight first-half points, including a thunderous over-the-back dunk that nearly brought down the JPJ roof. Huff added four blocks in the opening half as well.

Huff and Mamadi Diakite  each finished the game with 13 points. For the game, Virginia was still rather cold from the floor, finishing 24-of-59 from the field (40.7 percent) and a dismal 5-of-15 (33.3 percent) from behind the arc.

Virginia’s shooting woes followed them to the charity stripe as well, where they were 7-of-14 for the game.

Columbia (1-3), which lost earlier this week at Wake Forest 65-63, finished the game even colder, connecting on just 16 of 56 field-goal attempts (28.6 percent).

No secret in the first three games that the Cavalier offense is struggling, but the defense has graded out an A, and as usual is the club’s identity.

Virginia, now 3-0 for the season, returns back home Tuesday evening with a 7 p.m. clash with Maine.

Story by Scott German