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Dec 17, 2001

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Virginia has won a school-record 23 consecutive regular-season games against nonconference opponents. Coach Pete Gillen wasn’t too happy after the fifth-ranked Cavaliers’ latest, a 75-54 victory over Charleston Southern on Monday night.

“We did an excellent job in the first half, especially defensively, holding them to only 20 points,” Gillen said. “In the second half, we lost concentration, they beat us on the boards and they shot 51.7 percent.”

Virginia (6-0) shot just 36 percent in the second half, cooling off from a 15-for-32 performance in the first half.

“We were up 20 points, but you have to put people away and keep them away,” Gillen said.

Travis Watson scored 16 points for Virginia and Chris Williams added 12.

The Buccaneers (3-5), who shot just 35.5 percent from the field, never threatened after the first five minutes.

It was the first meeting between the schools, as well as Virginia’s final tuneup before Thursday night’s game with No. 16 Georgetown at MCI Center in Washington.

Gene Granger led Charleston Southern with 13 points, while reserve Chris Warzynski had eight points and 10 rebounds.

Virginia capitalized on a sloppy start by Charleston Southern, which was 7-of-33 from the field in the first half.

The Cavaliers converted 11 turnovers into 15 points and the Buccaneers scored no points off turnovers as Virginia took a 45-20 halftime lead.

The Buccaneers outrebounded Virginia 41-40 but the Cavaliers had 22 second-chance points to seven for Charleston Southern.

Poor free throw shooting continued to plague the Cavaliers, who went just 20-of-34 from the line. Virginia had made 65.4 percent of its foul shots entering the game.

“We experienced an excellent basketball team in the first half, very talented and playing so well together,” Charleston Southern coach Jim Platt said.

Charleston Southern cut the lead under 20 points just once in the second half during a messy stretch for Virginia that allowed the Buccaneers to reach 51-32 with 13:10 left. But Virginia freshman Jermaine Harper hit a 3-pointer from the corner on the ensuing play and the Cavaliers weren’t threatened after that.

“I thought our kids played an excellent basketball half in the second half, and certainly we have to learn to do that over an extended period of time if we are going to have a chance against this level of competition,” Platt said.

It was the first of six consecutive road games for Charleston Southern, including two more against ACC teams.

Freshman guard Adam Hall, who had nine points and nine rebounds, said Virginia has more work to do to live up to its lofty ranking.

“In the first half, we executed. In the second half, we eased off a little,” he said. “The effort has to be a lot higher. The emotion has to be higher than it was tonight.”

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