Sean Singletary had 14 points and 7 assists at Xavier.
Fourteen seconds in to Virginia’s final non-conference game of the season, a Cavalier defensive breakdown resulted in a Derrick Brown dunk and Xavier never looked back as it dominated Thursday night in Cincinnati with a 108-70 victory, topping the century mark for the second game in a row after its 103-77 victory over Kansas State on Monday night.
It was the first time since 1996 the Musketeers accomplished this feat and the first time a Virginia team surrendered 100 points since January 29, 2005. Coincidentally, both squads were led by coach Pete Gillen.
That was about all these two teams had in common, however. Xavier could do no wrong and Virginia struggled all night on both ends of the court. UVa never found a rhythm offensively and the Musketeers routinely found themselves with open looks. This type of play would characterize the Cavs’ defensive effort in the first half as the Musketeers shot 67 percent (including 11-15 from three) en route to a 61-30 halftime advantage.
“That was a team that was very good and very ready against a team that wasn’t very ready and isn’t very good,” Cavalier coach Dave Leitao said. “First play, we gave up a dunk and all five guys were in violation of where they were supposed to be and it went on from there.”
Leitao substituted frequently and changed defenses early on in an effort to slow down Xavier’s potent offense, but nothing went right for the Hoos. The Musketeers raced out to a 20-8 lead with 13:52 remaining when Leitao went to a 2-3 zone. Xavier then went on an 18-4 run to put Virginia away. The Cavaliers shot 2-9 from beyond the arc, were
out rebounded 15-11, and turned the ball over eight times prior to intermission.
C.J. Anderson got the scoring under way with a lay-up for Xavier in the second half before Virginia went on a 7-0 run behind two Calvin Baker free throws, a Sean Singletary 3-pointer, and a Mike Scott lay-up to cut the lead to 63-37. The Musketeers would quickly return to their first half ways, however, as they responded with a 9-0 run and cruised the rest of the way.
Xavier finished the game with 16 3-pointers, an all-time record against Virginia, and with seven different players in double figures. Drew Lavender led the Musketeers with 13 points and 8 assists compared with no turnovers. As a team, Xavier compiled 27 assists on 37 made field goals.
“They have a guy like [Drew] Lavender who’s so willing to get everyone involved,” Leitao said. “We were getting beat up the court. We were getting beat down the court.”
On the flipside, Virginia shot 40 percent from the field and was led by a solid performance by Singletary, who ended the game with 14 points, seven assists, and only two turnovers. It was Singletary’s 35th consecutive game in double figures and moved him past John Crotty for 11th on Virginia’s all-time scoring list.
Mike Scott contributed 10 points, six rebounds, and two blocks in 24 minutes. He continues to get the majority of the minutes at center and makes good on the opportunities he has been given with the injuries to Tunji Soroye and Laurynas Mikalauskas . Adrian Joseph and Mamadi Diane struggled for the Cavs, combining for 13
points and five rebounds. Joseph was scoreless in the first half and Diane followed up his best game of the year against Hartford (20 points and 9 rebounds on 6-8 shooting) with 7 points on 2-8 shooting.
Solomon Tat notched a career-high 12 points, all in the second half, in only his second game back from injury, providing a bright spot on a night where silver linings were few and far between. Tat was aggressive throughout the second half, taking the ball strong to the rim and earning nine foul shots. Soroye saw 5 minutes of action and had one rebound on 0-1 shooting in his second game back from injury. Jamil Tucker , questionable coming
into the game, had two points, one rebound, and four fouls in 13 minutes.
The Cavaliers have a 10-day break before traveling to Durham to take on Duke in their ACC opener. With all of the injuries Virginia has suffered in the first half of the season, the time between now and Duke will provide some much needed rest for the banged up Cavaliers. Still, Thursday’s lopsided loss showed once again that Virginia has many questions to be answered before it begins its ACC season on Jan. 13.
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