Mike Scott posted a huge game with 33 points and 14 boards.
An uncharacteristic outing defensively left Virginia in an offensive barnburner Wednesday night, but while Seattle became the first opponent to surpass 60 points this season, a resilient UVa team survived the upset bid to win its eighth straight game. The Cavaliers, 10-1 for the first time since 2000-2001, captured the 83-77 victory behind a career-high 33 points from Mike Scott, who missed just two shots in a virtuoso performance.
“It definitely did feel like I was in the zone. I haven’t felt like this since Virginia Tech last year. It just felt like every shot I was going to take, I had the confidence that I was going to make it,” Scott said on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. “I was just trying to finish plays when my teammates got me the ball.”
Scott’s 33 points came on 12-of-14 shooting and 9 of 11 free throws. He also snared 14 rebounds to post his fifth double-double of the season; he has two 20-10 games on the year. Scott is now tied with Scott McCandlish on the UVa career double-double list with 29. He moved into 35th place on the career scoring list where he is tied with Olden Polynice with 1,151 points; he took over sixth place on the career rebounds list with 788, surpassing radio color analyst Ted Jeffries (787) and Chris Williams (786).
As the numbers indicate Scott came up huge on the offensive end against the Redhawks (2-8), particularly in the first half when the hosts shot a blistering 57.7%. The senior forward scored from the blocks, with mid-range jumpers, and on rebounds in the paint en route to 19 points in the first half. Perhaps the most impressive play of the half came when Scott grabbed an offensive rebound and used a one dribble spin move from the middle of the paint back to the left block where he scored the layup while getting fouled. He made the free throw to finish off the play with 2:06 remaining in the half. Plays liked that helped the Hoos stay in it as Seattle took a 38-36 lead to the locker room.
“Mike was terrific. In that first half, offensively that’s about as good as I’ve seen him and we needed it because had Mike not carried us like that in the first half, I felt like that game might have gotten to a point where it would have been extremely difficult to reel back in. But Mike just kept scoring,” UVa coach Tony Bennett said on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. “They were certainly double-teaming and giving us some buckets, but he got in the zone as they say and made some good passes. Mike showed a level of skill that you don’t always see from a guy his size.”
Virginia needed all the points it could get as the defense struggled for much of the contest. Seattle shot 46% from the field for the game, but registered 15 offensive rebounds to get shots in the paint. The Redhawks made 8 3-pointers and created some easy buckets off of fullcourt pressure too.
For the Hoos, who had allowed a high of 58 points this season before Wednesday, the defense just couldn’t find any consistency. Early in game, the hosts found some room for straight-line drives or open 3-pointers. As the contest progressed, it was offensive rebounds or confident jumpers off of screens that provided the lift. Mix in the aforementioned baskets created from pressure and Seattle fought back from a 14-point deficit to retake the lead at 68-67 with 3:25 remaining. Broussard scored two of his 29 points to give the Redhawks the lead with a bank shot from the right block.
“Quite honestly, they took it to us. In the second half, we were a little better in stretches defensively but when they can get 15 offensive rebounds and easy buckets in the paint, we just looked like we were a half of step behind grabbing rebounds, getting to shooters, sliding, a lot of things that really they exploited,” Bennett said. “For us then to add to it some costly turnovers at crucial times, we’re fortunate to come out of this one with a victory.”
UVa sophomore Joe Harris scored 14 points in the win.
Fortunately for the Cavaliers, senior Sammy Zeglinski swished a 3-pointer after a Virginia timeout at the 3:25 mark. The Hoos broke the trapping pressure and Zeglinski pulled up in transition for the wide-open 3-pointer that gave the visitors the 70-68 lead and they finished off the game at the free-throw line. Zeglinski posted 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal.
Freshman Malcolm Brogdon led the charge at the charity stripe in the final minutes and finished 8 of 9 at the stripe. He had 10 points and 3 assists. As a team, UVa knocked down 27 of 38 free throws in the game. It is the third straight contest where Seattle has allowed at least 37 free throws to be attempted.
The Hoos also got 14 points, 2 assists, and 2 steals from Joe Harris in a game near his hometown of Chelan, Washington. Harris has scored in double figures in all but two games this season. Guard Jontel Evans added 8 points, 2 assists, and 2 steals while Assane Sene and Darion Atkins each chipped in 3 points and 3 rebounds. Scott, fittingly, capped the Cavs’ scoring with a paint shot and 3 of 4 free throws in the last 1:30 of the game.
“I thought he was a little shaky early, but what I liked certainly was his ability to make free throws down the stretch,” Bennett said of Brogdon. “What was equally important for us or impressive is that he was one of our primary ball handlers. He was the guy, for some reason, that was getting open against the press, he was breaking the press, breaking the traps, getting fouled, finding the right people. So as a first year, his ability to do that was important.”
The No. 24 Cavaliers return to the John Paul Jones Arena for their next contest, a 7 p.m. tip-off with Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday.