Cavs Coast To Win Over Penn

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Adrian Joseph had his second double-double of the season against Penn.

A fast start in the Palestra helped Virginia continue its fast start to the season on Friday. In the final game of the day, UVa opened with a 12-2 run and never looked back en route to a 100-85 victory against host Penn. The win improved the Cavaliers to 5-0 on the young season, including 3-0 in the Philly Hoop Group Classic.

Dave Leitao’s team gets a shot at the championship game of its bracket on Saturday when it faces Seton Hall.

“Obviously we’ve got to continue to grow,” Leitao said on the Virginia Sports Network. “Anytime you win, especially on the road, you’ve got to look to see what you can do better and appreciate the fact that you did win and that you’re playing for a championship.”

One sign of some early growth this season? After having zero double-doubles in the first three years of his career, Adrian Joseph logged his second straight double-double against the Quakers. Joseph finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds against Penn, just three days after posting 11 points and 11 rebounds against Drexel.

The senior forward provided some of his production Friday in the game’s crucial opening stretch. During the 12-2 opening run, Joseph hit two 3-pointers and grabbed three rebounds to help spark his team’s fast start. Joseph added a steal and a block to his stat line by night’s end.

“He’s been playing much better throughout the year. He’s bought in 1000 percent to what we’re doing. He’s much more vocal. He’s playing the role of a leader, so as a result he’s doing more. He came in as a shooter and now he’s a guy who really shoots it and does other things. He’s been rebounding for us, this is his second consecutive double-double, he’s passing the ball better and getting fouled a little more. I just see a guy’s game expanding.”

Mike Scott’s first career double-double helped the Hoos dispatch the Quakers.

Joseph wasn’t the only Cavalier with a double-double against Penn. Freshman Mike Scott, who started the season slowly while recovering from an ankle injury, flashed signs of things to come in the contest. He posted 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 1 assist in 19 minutes to give the Hoos a boost off the bench. He made all four of his free throw attempts.

Perhaps, the highlight play of the night for Scott came when UVa started to stretch out its lead in the first half. Guard Calvin Baker pulled down a defensive rebound, dribbled up the right side, and fired a crisp crosscourt pass to the streaking Scott. The forward slammed home the dunk for a 45-26 lead at that stage as the Cavaliers essentially spent the final 25 minutes or more on cruise control.

“Mike and Will [Harris] came off the bench and did really good jobs for us,” Leitao said. “As the season goes on and [Mike] gets more and more experience, it’s my hope that he’ll get better and better. He’s got a nose for the ball. He can rebound. He’s a competitor. I’d like to think as he gets more and more healthy, he’ll get more and more minutes if he continues to grow like he did tonight.”

As Leitao pointed out, Harris did pick up some solid minutes for the first time this season as he continues to get healthy after some injury issues in the early going. The sophomore played 13 minutes against the Quakers and finished with 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist. Like Scott, Harris had an impressive dunk after flashing through the paint in the second half.

Other statistical standouts included Sean Singletary , who had 16 points, 4 assists, and 1 steal while Mamadi Diane recorded 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist, and 1 block. Ryan Pettinella chipped in six points against his former team, while Laurynas Mikalauskas and Jamil Tucker both added eight off the bench. Two other Philadelphia natives contributed as well – Sam Zeglinski had 3 steals, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds while Jeff Jones had 2 points and 1 assist.

“We tried to understand that this was a business as usual kind of game, but at the same point in time human nature will tell you that there’s a lot of added excitement, not just for Ryan [Pettinella], a guy who played in this building for a while, but for guys who have played in high school in this building or guys who have been around Philadelphia for most of their lives,” Leitao said. “We came for a reason, so they can enjoy the experience and more than anything let their family, friends, coaches and people who have been around them and helped them get to this point in life enjoy watching them play.”

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