Cavaliers Top Penn 100-85 in Philly Hoop Group Classic
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Sean Singletary has another chance to give his hometown fans a game to remember.
Adrian Joseph had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Singletary scored 16 points and No. 23 Virginia was unstoppable early on its way to a 100-85 victory over Penn on Friday night in the Philly Hoop Group Classic.
The Cavaliers (5-0) will play Seton Hall on Saturday in the championship game of the Independence bracket of the inaugural eight-team tournament. Drexel will play Loyola, Md. on Saturday in the Liberty championship game. The tournament is broken up into two brackets, so there is no undisputed champion.
“We’re a still a work in progress as much as anything,” Virginia coach Dave Leitao said.
The Quakers (1-4) might have a hard time believing Leitao’s assessment.
There was no dispute about the outcome of this one. Not even playing on their home court and famed home of the Big 5, the Palestra, provided the Quakers with any kind of advantage.
The word Classic was applicable to the tournament’s name only.
The Cavaliers, who jumped into the Top 25 by handing Arizona its first November home loss since 1978-79, never let thoughts of upset hatch inside the heads of the Ivy League Quakers. Fans were still looking for a spot on the bleacher seats when Joseph hit a pair of 3-pointers on an opening 12-2 run. Jamil Tucker and Calvin Baker each hit 3s early that put them up 20-7 and it was time for Virginia’s seldom-used benchwarmers to start thinking about garbage time minutes.
Virginia was so dominant – 7-for-13 from 3-point range in the first half – that it didn’t even miss Singletary’s typical big game. Singletary, who leads the Cavaliers with a 22.5 scoring average, made only one field goal and scored seven points in the first half.
Singletary, a Philadelphia native, picked up his game in the second half and helped turn this one into a rout. He did earn the loudest ovation of any player during the pregame introductions.
Singletary had scored at least 19 points in the first four games, but stalled against the Quakers on a 4-for-12 effort.
“I’m just happy we got the win and I’ve got a chance to turn things around tomorrow,” he said.
Mamadi Diane scored 13 points and Mike Scott added 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Another statistical oddity was Penn reserve Remy Cofield’s 12 points in the first half. Not bad for a freshman who was scoreless for the season on only three shots coming into the game. He finished with 20 points.
“He’s going to be a heck of a player for us,” Penn coach Glen Miller said. “He’s got himself to the point where he’s earned an opportunity and he certainly took advantage of it.”
Joseph sank two more 3s in the second half and each gave Virginia an 18-point lead. The only suspense was if Virginia would go over the 100-point mark. Will Sherrill’s jumper with 21 seconds left put the Cavaliers right at 100.
Joseph went 5-for-7 from 3-point range.
“He bought in 1,000 percent to what we’re doing,” Leitao said. “He came in as a shooter and now he does other things. You just see a guy who’s game is expanding.”
Singletary believed the Cavaliers’ lead could have expanded by a few more points in the second half.
“We could have kept our foot on the gas pedal a little more,” he said.
The Quakers, who have contended for the Ivy League title for most of the last 15 years, have to face the possibility of another blowout against an ACC team on their home court: Top-ranked North Carolina visits on Dec. 4 at the Palestra.
Penn shot 54 percent from the floor in the second half and a respectable 46 percent overall. Those numbers were wasted by the mismatch on the boards. Scott and Joseph helped the Cavaliers outrebound Penn 56-26.
“We’re young. We’re learning. We’re growing,” Miller said.