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Nov 16, 2001

Final Stats | Video Highlights


AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Roger Mason Jr. looked nothing like a fill-in in his first game as Virginia’s starting point guard.

“I liked it,” Mason said after he had 24 points and nine assists in the No. 11 Cavaliers’ 105-74 season-opening victory over Wagner on Friday night.

“I’m more comfortable controlling the team, and I’m actually liking having the ball in my hands. It’s still going to be an adjustment for me, but I’m comfortable with it right now.”

Mason, moved from shooting guard when expected starter Majestic Mapp was sidelined for a second consecutive year by knee surgery, hit 5-of-7 3-pointers and had a handful of fancy feeds for Virginia.

“Just because I’m at the point doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to score as well,” he said. “You’ve got the keep the defense honest and when I scored, it also made it easier for me to distribute the ball.”

Mason earned high marks for his play from both coaches, with Pete Gillen giving him an “A’ and Wagner coach Dereck Whittenburg gushing.

Roger Mason just killed us in the first half,” Whittenburg said. “We had no answer for him. I can’t say enough about him. We thought our pressure could get to him, but he handled it beautifully.”

Chris Williams added 26 points and 10 rebounds for Virginia.

Elton Brown, one of four freshmen expected to play a lot for Gillen’s team, became an immediate crowd favorite, scoring with authority inside. He had 16 points on 8-for-9 shooting, helping the Cavaliers to a 59 percent shooting night. All of his baskets came from in close.

Jermaine Hall led Wagner (0-1) with 18 points, including the 1,000th of his career, making him the 29th Seahawks player to reach the milestone.

The Seahawks stayed close until late in the first half, when Mason’s third 3-pointer sparked a 20-6 run to give the Cavaliers a 59-42 lead at the break. Mason had eight points in the run, Watson seven.

After halftime, Virginia pulled away steadily, using Mason’s fifth 3-pointer to start a 21-6 run that made the lead 82-54 with 10:32 left.

“We asked to play Virginia. I guess we got what we asked for,” said Whittenburg, who played his college ball at North Carolina State.

Gillen then substituted freely, giving freshmen Keith Jenifer, Jermaine Harper and Jason Clark a long welcome to the college game.

Brown, a 6-foot-9, 265-pound forward, had 10 of 12 Cavaliers points in one stretch, the only break coming on a steal and dunk by Williams.

Williams had another dunk with 2:45 left, putting the Cavaliers into triple digits for the 10th time in Gillen’s three-plus seasons here.

Adam Hall added 18 points and Travis Watson had 11 with 13 rebounds for Virginia, which shot 59 percent while limiting Wagner to 33 percent.

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