Virginia Cruises Past Liberty 79-44
Nov. 18, 2005
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTSVILLE, Va. (AP) – Freshman Mamadi Diane scored 17 points in his college debut and Sean Singletary had 15 Friday night as Virginia began the Dave Leitao era with a 79-44 victory against Liberty.
The Cavaliers, playing with only seven recruited scholarship players available, started the game with an 18-2 run and were never challenged by the team from the Big South Conference, which had just one starter back from last year’s 13-15 team.
That starter, Larry Blair, missed his first nine shots in the game, including a breakaway dunk off a steal in the second half, and finished 2-for-13 with 13 points.
The Cavaliers had no such scoring trouble as three different players hit 3-pointers in the first 8:06 and Virginia hit 6 of 9 from behind the arc in the half. Liberty, by contrast, was just 6-for-26 from the field, including eight 3-point attempts.
The Cavaliers led 18-2 after 4 1/2 minutes, ran off 13 points in a row to make it 33-10 with 7:54 to play and led 44-22 at halftime after a half-ending 9-5 Flames run.
The second half was no better for the Flames. They turned the ball over without getting off a shot on their first four possessions, were outscored 12-2 in the first seven minutes and fell increasingly further behind.
J.R. Reynolds and Laurynas Mikalauskas, another freshman, added 14 points each for Virginia, and Adrian Joseph had 12. The Cavaliers were without guard T.J. Bannister and forward Donte Minter, both of whom are recovering from off-season surgery.
Leitao, who replaced Pete Gillen after last season, spent much of the game barking at the officials and admonishing his players for their mistakes. He was called for a technical foul with 5:22 to play and his team leading by more than 30 points.
On the play in question, Reynolds fell hard to the court after being fouled on a drive, and when there was no call, Leitao stomped his foot on the court to object.
Diane had 11 points at the break and Reynolds had 10.
Blair, who averaged 16.6 points last year, was 0-for-8 and had 4 points.