Jontel Evans had 11 points in the loss.
Virginia’s first road trip of the 2010-2011 men’s basketball season ended with a disappointing thud at Stanford on Thursday night. After leading in the early stages of the game, the Cavaliers hung tough through the first half before a shooting onslaught propelled the Cardinal to an 81-60 win.
For second-year coach Tony Bennett, the defensive performance was disappointing.
“They’re a balanced team and they certainly can shoot the ball. Some we made them earn but some we didn’t,” Bennett told the Virginia Sports Radio Network. “When you play a team that is that proficient, you have to be able to make them earn a little more and as hard as we work at it in practice, that was a little disheartening.”
Indeed, the Cardinal started to expose the Cavaliers in the final 20 minutes with a combination of sharp 3-point shooting, transition baskets, and points in the paint. For the game, the hosts hit 54.4 percent of their shots and they owned a 20-8 advantage in the paint. Junior Jeremy Green did much of the damage with a game-high 21-point effort; he made 7 of his last 10 shots. Anthony Brown chipped in with 13 points, including a pair of important 3-pointers in the second half.
Those two triples were Brown’s only two of the night and they came during the game’s most crucial stretch. After Virginia’s Joe Harris , who made his first career start and finished with his first game in double figures with 12 points, knocked down three straight 3-pointers to cut the Stanford lead to 44-43 in the early moments of the second half, it looked like the Hoos would put up a fight in the opener on the road. That’s when the Cardinal marched through a 3-point shooting parade. First, Green hit one to make it 47-43; Brown followed with back-to-back bombs as the lead quickly grew to 53-45. Moments later, Andrew Zimmerman joined the party with a pick-and-pop 3-ball off a double-high on-ball screen set. Green capped off the feeding frenzy with yet another shot from downtown and Stanford led 62-48.
Just before Brown’s double 3-pointers, one of the game’s pivotal moments occurred and it hurt the Cavaliers because it could have helped the visitors fight off the Cardinal’s outside shooting outburst. With the score sitting at 47-45 in the hosts’ favor, Virginia’s Mustapha Farrakhan (team-high 14 points) jumped a pass on defense and came up with a steal in front of the pack. It looked like two points and a 47-47 tie for UVa when Farrakhan lost control of the ball on his way into the air with some contact from the trailing defender. Brown hit his two triples just after that play and the Hoos trailed by eight when a tie seemed certain just moments before.
Unfortunately for the Cavaliers a similar moment occurred late in the half as they tried to mount a comeback. Trailing 64-50 but still within striking distance in the final 10 minutes, Jontel Evans (career-high 11 points with his second straight game in double figures) stole the ball and surged ahead of the defense toward another ‘sure’ two points for UVa. On his lay-up attempt, however, Zimmerman elevated to block the shot off the glass (the replay showed a missed goaltending call as the ball hit the glass prior to Zimmerman blocking the shot) and Stanford again scored in transition on the other end to lead 66-50. From there, the game completely unraveled for the Hoos as numerous defensive breakdowns and more sloppy play – the Cavaliers finished with 18 turnovers, including 12 in the first half – led to a lopsided outcome.
“I thought we hurt ourselves early in the first half too with unforced errors, some of those turnovers, travels or just silly turnovers,” Bennett said. “We talk a lot about eliminating the things that are going to get us in trouble and that’s the second shots, the silly turnovers, and transition baskets. In the second half, we certainly didn’t make them earn.”