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Dec 19, 2002

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Reserves Derrick Byars scored 20 points and Nick Vander Laan had 17 as Virginia defeated Gardner-Webb 72-65 Thursday night.

The two outscored the Cavaliers’ starters, who accounted for 24 points. Vander Laan also had a team-high eight rebounds.

Byars, who sparked Virginia for the second straight game, said the team appeared “a bit low out there tonight.”

“I was just trying to be an energy booster and spark things off the bench,” he said.

Virginia (5-2) led 36-25 at the half but the Runnin’ Bulldogs (1-6) refused to go away. They cut the lead to 49-46 with 9:54 left on a 3-pointer by Tim Beherendorff, who led Gardner-Webb with 18.

Gardner-Webb trimmed the lead to 4 twice in the final minute, but Virginia converted five of its final six free throws and got a steal and dunk by sophomore forward Jason Clark to hang on.

Virginia shot 39.7 percent from the field and was outrebounded by the smaller Runnin’ Bulldogs, 41-40.

Virginia opened the game by missing 14 of its first 20 shots from the floor and shot just 35.3 percent from the field for the half.

Senior forward Travis Watson, averaging 14.3 points per game, was scoreless in the first half and finished with 2 points. He left the game with 16:35 left after spraining his right ankle and did not return. He is doubtful for Virginia’s game at Rutgers on Saturday.

Devin Smith, averaging 13.8 points per game, finished with two points.

Coach Pete Gillen was grateful for the win.

“When your best player scores two points and gets injured and Todd Billett and Devin Smith combine for nine points, you have to take it and run,” he said.

Gardner-Webb Coach Rick Scruggs chalked up the loss as a learning experience for a team starting only its third year in Division I.

“We cannot emulate that kind of quickness and strength. Hopefully, we can knock of one of these guys soon,” Scuggs said.

Byars, a 6-foot-7 freshman, led 16 Tuesday night to lead the Cavaliers past East Tennessee State, 84-76.

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