Scott German: UVA basketball business-like in opening victory at JMU

uva basketballAfter having observed the over three-month long train wreck that has been Virginia football this season, the business-like 79-51 win by the UVA men’s basketball team last night in Harrisonburg against James Madison University was just fine.

The eighth-ranked Cavaliers delivered just about what every Cavalier faithful had hoped for: a quick lethal blow to the chin to the JMU-lights out, drive home safely.

The sellout JMU crowd (first in 20 years) was as rowdy as expected, just waiting to hopefully storm the court and later take the party outside to the JMU campus for an all-night celebration.

Twenty years in the making would eventually only last about five minutes for the home fans.

Getting practically every shot they wanted, the Cavaliers jumped out to a quick 11-3 lead by the first media timeout and led by double digits for the final 35 minutes of the game. Virginia did exactly what you would expect from one of the nation’s top teams: they dominated the obviously weaker opponent.

The crowd was a distraction early on, said Virginia forward Malcolm Brogdon, a first-team All-ACC selection in 2013-2014.

“I thought their crowd  and band was great, but we took care of business from the very beginning, and that kind of set the tone for the game,” noted Brogdon.

Indeed  they did, as the Cavaliers connected on 10 of their first 11 shots to jump to a 22-8 lead and shot 69.2 % in the first half and lead at the break 51-33.

Midway through the second half, most of the JMU students had left the building heading for more interesting Friday night options. And you couldn’t blame them, as most if not all of the James Madison students were not even born the last time Virginia opened the season as a Top 10 team.

As most fans expected, the veterans Justin Anderson, Anthony Gill and Brogdon lead the Cavaliers in scoring with a combined 47 points. But the play of the Virginia freshman was also the noteworthy. Isaiah Wilkins and Marial Shayok combined for 14 points and eight rebounds while redshirt freshman Devon Hall ran the team at point guard and had two assists and five steals. Hall, filling in for suspended guard London Parrantes and had not played competitive basketball in over 20 months, maintained the Cavalier offense at a high-octane performance.

So the trip to Harrisonburg turned out to be a very enjoyable night for the for the Virginia fans, who  have had very little to be excited about so far doing the sports season. And even better, only two more football games to endure this season.

– Column by Scott German

UVA Basketball Fans!

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