Signature win for UVa.
‘Hoos knock off #24 UAB, 72-63
Story by Chris Graham
AFP Audio: Tony Bennett’s postgame press conference
“It’s not an easy way, but it’s something that when it’s played well stands up to good competition,” said first-year coach Tony Bennett, who got what you have to consider a signature win for his program over UAB, which had come into the untelevised game on a 10-game winning streak and seemed primed early on to make it 11.
The Blazers (11-2) led by as many as eight points in the first half, and it was 50-43 midway through the second half before Virginia took control on the defensive end.
“We won it with our defense in the second half,” said Bennett of his team, which went on a 16-3 run over a seven-minute stretch of the second half that was punctuated by a three-pointer by freshman Jontel Evans and a four-point play by Sammy Zeglinski that gave the ‘Hoos a five-point lead.
UAB cut the lead to two points twice down the stretch, but UVa., which hit 12 of its 15 free-throw attempts in the second half, sealed the deal at the foul line in the game’s final minute.
AFP Audio: Tony Bennett’s postgame press conference (10:43)
Sophomore Sylven Landesberg led Virginia with 19 points. Mike Scott scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds in 23 minutes in his first game back since suffering a high-ankle sprain earlier this month.
Mustapha Farrakhan scored 10 points in 21 minutes off the bench, but played a bigger role on the defensive end matching up with Blazer guard Elijah Millsap in the second half. Millsap led all scorers with 27 points, but scored only 10 in the second half.
“We wanted to make it hard for him to get touches. And I thought he made him work,” Bennett said of Farrakhan’s work on the defensive end.
Evans had the best game of his young career, scoring nine points and dishing out three assists in 21 minutes off the bench.