Supporting Cast Provides Boost

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Jason Cain helped UVa get off to a fast start against Albany.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Without question J.R. Reynolds and Sean Singletary were on top of their game in Friday’s NCAA Tournament opener against Albany. They combined for 51 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists all while infusing the team with noticeable energy. But, as has been the case in many of Virginia’s key wins this season, the supporting cast came up big as well. Jason Cain and Tunji Soroye contributed early while controlling the interior and Mamadi Diane defended and hit open shots.

When those players are contributing, that makes UVa a dangerous, dangerous club – especially if Reynolds and Singletary are scoring at a high rate.

“It is big, and even the last game we played, Jason Cain got off to a quick start as he did [Friday] and we were able to maintain ourselves that way and let everybody on our team, but especially everybody on the other team, understand that you’re going to have to guard everybody,” Cavalier coach Dave Leitao said. “Jason had a couple post-ups early; he made a really good offensive move early. Tunji scored early. Mo was able to establish himself. I think it gave the confidence to all five guys on the floor that anybody can touch it, potentially can make plays, and obviously once J. R. got started and made shots, it opened up from there.”

As Leitao referenced, Cain set the tone in the opening minutes with several strong moves around the basket. On the first possession of the game, Virginia moved the ball around the floor before freeing Cain up on the right block. He caught the entry pass, made a move to fake a turn-around jumper, and then stuttered stepped under the defender with his non-pivot foot. The lay-up gave UVa a lead it never relinquished.

After Reynolds scored, Cain again went to work on the right side. This time, he caught the ball facing up and dribbled into the post. When he made a move baseline, Albany dropped down to double team and Cain fired a pass to Soroye for an inside