Virginia Holds Off Drake For Victory At Paradise Jam
ST. THOMAS, U. S. Virgin Islands-Sophomore guard Joe Harris scored a game-high 18 points and senior forward Mike Scott scored 14 points and had a game-high nine rebounds to lead Virginia to a 60-52 victory over Drake in the Cavaliers’ final game at the 2011 U. S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam on Monday (Nov. 21).
Harris’ 18 points are a season high and Scott has led Virginia in rebounding in every game this season.
UVa finished with a 2-1 record at the Paradise Jam and is now 4-1 on the season. Drake was 1-2 in the tournament and is now 3-2 on the season.
Junior forward Ben Simons led Drake with 14 points and sophomore guard Rayvonte Rice had 12 points for the Bulldogs.
“Tough tournament, it really is,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said after the game. “I wish we would have had the chance to play Marquette. They’re a heck of a team.
“But our staff, we were talking about it, Alabama came here [last year] and went 0-3 in this tournament. And in these settings, especially the third game, a lot of crazy stuff happens when you watch these tournaments. Whether it’s poor shooting, turnovers, you see that stuff happen.”
The Cavaliers ended the first half on a 10-2 run over the final 9:04 to take a 26-15 halftime lead. Harris had 10 first half points for Virginia.
“We had a good first half,” Bennett said. “Even at the start of the second half, got in a little rhythm offensively and started stretching the lead out, and then all of the sudden a couple of those empty possessions we talked about came, and we really got shaky.”
UVa scored the first six points of the second half to build its lead to 32-15 with 16:20 left in the game before the Bulldogs started to mount a comeback. A 7-0 run by Drake reduced the Cavaliers’ lead to 36-27 with 12:13 left in the game and the Bulldogs eventually cut the lead to four points on three occasions. The Cavaliers answered each time on a layup by senior guard Sammy Zeglinski, a jumper by Scott and finally, with 42 seconds remaining, two free throws by freshman guard Malcolm Brogdon.
Brogdon’s two free throws were the first of eight consecutive made free throws by Virginia coming down the stretch, two each by four different UVa players as the Cavaliers held on for the victory.
Brogdon finished with eight points and five rebounds for Virginia.
“I’m glad we weathered the storm in that second half,” Bennett said. “We really did, because we got shaky with the ball. Maybe in the past we wouldn’t have been able to recover, but I thought after we finally calmed down, we had to break the press, we had to make free throws, we had to try and get stops. But to be able to overcome that adversity, I take as a positive.”
For the game the Cavaliers shot a season-high 52.6 percent (20-38) from the field, including 63.2 percent (12-19) in the second half. UVa made 87.0 percent (20-23) of its free throws in the game, but did not make a three-point field goal (0-5). It’s the first time Virginia has not made a three-point field goal in a game since Dec. 4, 2005 at Georgia Tech.
Drake shot 39.0 percent (16-41) from the field for the game, including 20 percent (2-10) from three-point range, and 78.3 percent (18-23) from the free-throw line. The Bulldogs shot 55.6 percent (10-18) from the field and 84.2 percent (16-19) from the free-throw line in the second half.
Drake out-rebounded the Cavaliers 24-23 and each team had 16 turnovers.
Virginia returns to action on Friday (Nov. 25) at John Paul Jones Arena when the Cavaliers host Green Bay. That game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.