Total Team Effort Spurs Blowout

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J.R. Reynolds made five 3-pointers, one more than his previous season total.

So maybe Virginia isn’t a one-man team, after all. The Cavaliers, carried by Sean Singletary all season, put together a complete performance in tonight’s 98-59 whipping of Loyola (Md.) at University Hall. UVa (4-4) snapped a three-game losing streak, while J.R. Reynolds and Adrian Joseph broke out of their shooting slumps in a big way as five Cavs scored in double figures. Singletary, hampered by foul trouble, wasn’t one of them.

Singletary, averaging 20.2 points, finished with just four on a night when his teammates proved they could play without him. Reynolds (25 points) and Joseph (career-high 24) combined for 10 3-pointers in 15 attempts after going 10 for 57 from long range in UVa’s first seven games.

“After the Gonzaga game, we’ve been practicing twice a day and in the evenings we put up so many jump shots,” Joseph said. “We feel so much more confident. I feel so much more confident. Good things happened tonight.”

It was a far cry from Virginia’s last home game, a 62-60 loss to Fordham which Singletary sat out with a hip injury. It also wasn’t anything like last Saturday’s loss at Gonzaga in which Singletary scored 35 points, one more than his teammates.

This time the Cavs played their best after Singletary went to the bench with his second foul. They led 21-14 at the time, with 10:36 left in the first half, and once Singletary sat down, Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos said, “I thought we had a chance.”

Jason Cain pulled down a career-high 16 boards.

Instead, Virginia blew the Greyhounds (5-2) out of the gym with a 27-2 run. The ‘Hoos scored on 12 straight possessions. Reynolds drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key, then another from the right wing. Reynolds scored off a steal and made two free throws, giving him 10 points in a three-minute span. Joseph then hit consecutive treys, followed by a resounding dunk off an alley oop from Reynolds. Mamadi Diane also scored six points in the surge and Jason Cain had a dunk, giving UVa a 48-16 lead.

By the time the half was over, Virginia had 60 points – none by Singletary, who seemed to be enjoying the show along with the fans.

“That was our problem against Georgia Tech and Fordham. When Sean wasn’t playing or wasn’t playing well, we didn’t have anybody stepping up and helping Sean out,” said Cain, who turned in perhaps his finest career performance with 15 points and 16 rebounds. “This showed we could help him out.”

Reynolds, mired in a terrible shooting slump, said he regained his touch this week while competing against Joseph in 3-point shooting contests. “You had to make five shots in a row from each spot,” he said. “We did it all week and it was good competition.”

The Cavaliers made 13 3-pointers – two shy of the school record – in 21 attempts. Reynolds and Joseph each went 4 of 5 in the first half. Walk-on Mike Forkin drilled one from the right corner to complete the scoring.

“If Virginia shoots like that,” Patsos said, “they’ll be a very tough out in the ACC.”

Even UVa coach Dave Leitao couldn’t find much to complain about.

“Someone asked me the other day if I was concerned that Sean needs to take 25 shots for us to be successful,” he said. “You know, this game has so many different variables. One game he scores 35 and that’s what we may need to be successful. Today we did it without him. I’m hoping we can find our comfort zone and if we can continue to find it every day in practice, we can find it in games.”

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