UVa. basketball concludes Euro trip with win
The Cavaliers, who were 2-3 on their tour, handed the collection of French professionals their first loss of this exhibition season after two wins over Kansas and a victory over Virginia in Monday’s matchup.
Virginia used two lineups throughout the game. The group of Jontel Evans (Hampton, Va.), Evan Nolte (Milton, Ga.), Taylor Barnette (Lexington, Ky.), Justin Anderson (Montross, Va.) and Darion Atkins (Clinton, Md.) played the first five minutes of each period, with Paul Jesperson (Merrill, Wis.), Teven Jones (Kannapolis, N.C.), Mike Tobey (Monroe, N.Y.), Joe Harris (Chelan, Wash.) and Akil Mitchell (Charlotte, N.C.) playing the final five minutes of each period.
“The France team was a little disinterested early, and then they made a rally in the third period, but our guys withstood the rally,” said head coach Tony Bennett. “I played them in five-minute waves, hockey shifts, and I think that was good to see different guys get experiences.”
Mitchell led the Cavaliers with 15 points and nine rebounds, one rebound shy of his third consecutive double-double. Harris scored 13 points and Anderson added 11 points.
For the second straight night in Paris, the Cavaliers had a strong first quarter. Virginia made 13 field goals in the period and took a 29-14 lead after 10 minutes. The 29 points were the most the Cavaliers have scored in a quarter on their tour.
The Cavaliers continued to lead by double digits for most of the second period and took an 11-point lead into halftime at 49-38. Harris, Mitchell and Nolte all had nine first half points to lead Virginia.
The third quarter was a low-scoring period that saw just 27 combined points. AMW Team France scored 17 of those points to close to within four points at 59-55 after 30 minutes.
The Cavaliers led 63-60 with 6:30 remaining when an AMW 3-point attempt to tie was missed. Evans scored on the other end to start a 13-0 run over the next three minutes to extend the advantage to 16 points. Virginia connected on three more field goals as they closed out the 17-point victory.
“I think this was probably the most physical of all the games that we’ve played, and I thought our guys embraced that physicality more,” said Bennett. “The officials, to be polite, were letting guys basically maul each other out there. You just had to play, and you had to be strong with the ball, and you knew when shots went up there was going to be a lot of contact. I think there’s no other way to get the point across about how strong you have to be and how good a position you have to be in, except to be in a situation like that where if you’re out of position, or you’re not really braced or ready, you’re going to get knocked on your can.”
Giovan Oniangue led AMW Team France with 24 points, while Ferdinand Prenom and Jordan Aboudou each had 11 points.
The Cavaliers conclude their trip with a final day of sightseeing in Paris on Wednesday before flying home on Thursday.