Defense Sets Tone Against Danes

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Mamadi Diane has been a strong perimeter defender all season for the Hoos.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Much of the pre-game hype prior to the Albany-Virginia game in the NCAA Tournament focused on what was expected to be a backcourt battle. Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds have been headliners for the Cavaliers all season long, while the Great Danes’ Jamar Wilson has starred as the America East’s two-time Player of the Year. The Hoos’ defense took the drama out of the match-up on Friday, however, hounding Wilson throughout en route to a blowout win.

Sure, Wilson put up good statistics – 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting to go with 3 assists. The guard had little impact on the game’s outcome, though. Much of his success came with Virginia leading by 20 or more points and he had trouble creating consistently for his teammates as well. Simply put, the Cavaliers’ defense – led by Mamadi Diane and J.R. Reynolds – clamped down on the Bronx star and he never found his rhythm as his team fell 84-57.

“I would say they definitely defended me tough, I would say they had a six-six guard on me most of the game and every time I came off a ball screen, they tried to double as much as possible,” Wilson said. “I think they more so did a good job of after doubling me that they didn’t give up any easy looks and made us shoot late in the shot clock so that’s where we struggled at.”

“Well, we wanted to crowd him. We had J. R. on him to start. We put Mo on him for long stretches. We wanted to make sure if he put the ball on the floor that he saw not one but two, maybe three sets of eyes on him,” UVa coach Dave Leitao said. “We tried to chase him off screens so he couldn’t turn the corner and made him give up the ball more than he’s used to doing and [then try to] rotate to people we thought could hurt us. … It worked in that it allowed us to play deep into the shot clock and then once that happened, they were taking