Forward Progress Keys UVa Win Over VT

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Jason Cain produced 8 points and 9 rebounds against VT.

Revenge. Payback. Vengeance. Retribution. Whatever you want to call it, with a 69-56 victory Thursday night Virginia earned a split with Virginia Tech in the regular season match-ups between the Commonwealth rivals. However you tag the Cavaliers’ win, however, the 40-point turn-around from Blacksburg to Charlottesville required some “forward thinking” on the part of the Hoos.

That’s because the forwards have been the difference in the two in-state showdowns. While the guards in the two contests – Sean Singletary , J.R. Reynolds, Jamon Gordon , and Zabian Dowdell – certainly have earned the recognition and top billing, the outcomes hinged on the small and power forward slots. In Blacksburg, the nod went to Deron Washington , A.D. Vassallo , and company. In Charlottesville, Mamadi Diane , Adrian Joseph , Cain, and the gang won the battle.

“I tried to play it down with the team, but obviously it lived in their mind set, their spirit,” UVa coach Dave Leitao said of the revenge factor Thursday night. “They brought in a very workman-like spirit today. Obviously Sean and J.R. led us like they always do, but Mo (Mamadi), Adrian, Jason, Tunji [Soroye], the guys off the bench, Jamil [Tucker]’s timely rebound, the big shot in the first half – all of those kinds of things really contributed to our win today. I think that they really felt slighted last time we played them, it was a build up of the guards, but it was Vassallo and Washington that really hurt us. Jason and Mo, and Adrian and those guys that I mentioned really came out and personally made sure that they were a big part of the game.”

Very big. The primary forwards – those that log the most minutes –