Hall Ready If Called Upon For 'Hoos
Feb. 24, 2015
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CHARLOTTESVILLE — Second-ranked Virginia defeated Florida State 51-41 in ACC men’s basketball Sunday night, and Devon Hall’s stat line read as follows: 1 for 2 on field goals (0 for 1 on 3-pointers), two points, one assist and one turnover in 12 minutes off the bench.
The videotape revealed more about Hall’s performance, not all of it pleasing to the redshirt freshman from Virginia Beach.
“I was a little careless with the ball,” Hall said Tuesday afternoon after practice at John Paul Jones Arena.
“It’s been a while, and I’m still trying to get my feel back. I needed to be able to take the ball to spots and be able to get guys the ball when they’re open, instead of just playing with it out front.”
Hall, a 6-5 combo guard, played in only six of the Cavaliers’ first 10 ACC games. But his role expanded after junior swingman Justin Anderson fractured the small finger on his shooting hand Feb. 7, and it may grow again this week.
Sophomore point guard London Perrantes joined Anderson on UVa’s injured list Sunday night when he sustained a broken nose and mild concussion early in the second half against FSU. Anderson remains sidelined, and it’s uncertain if Perrantes will play at Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
“I think we’ve seen this year more than ever,” UVa associate head coach Ritchie McKay said, “that you’ve really got to have a next-man-up mentality, because you just never know what’s going to happen in a college basketball game, week or season.”
If Perrantes is not available in Winston-Salem, the Wahoos will split the point-guard duties “by committee,” head coach Tony Bennett said.
Shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon, a 6-5 redshirt junior who leads the team in scoring, can run the offense, as can Hall. Another perimeter player, 6-5 freshman Marial Shayok, can also help with the ballhandling.
UVa (25-1, 13-1) meets Wake (12-15, 4-10) at 7 p.m. at Lawrence Joel Coliseum. The Cavaliers, who edged the Demon Deacons 61-60 at JPJ on Feb. 14, haven’t won at Joel Coliseum since Jan. 30, 2000.
A victory Wednesday would move Virginia closer to clinching the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament for the second straight year.
“I’m super excited,” Hall said. “I’m excited going into every single game, really, whether I’m going to play or not. It’s just about me being ready to play when my name’s called.”
Hall heard his name called at the 14:39 mark of the second half Sunday night after Brogdon and Perrantes injured themselves in violent collision on defense. Hall, who had played three minutes in the first half, entered the game with another reserve, Shayok, while UVa’s medical staff attended to Brogdon and Perrantes.
“We both knew that we had to step up,” Shayok said after the game. “That’s what Coach has been emphasizing all year, next man up, so we both came in prepared.
“It showed a lot about our chemistry. We all try to lift each other up, even when we’re not playing, and we all work equally hard in practice, so when the time comes, we’re all ready.”
Moments after Brogdon and Perrantes collided — but before play was stopped — the Seminoles had hit a 3-pointer to pull to 31-28, and they targeted Hall when he checked in. A defender pressured Hall every time he touched the ball.
“Now it’s a one-possession game, they’re back in it, and we don’t have a starting guard on the floor,” McKay said, “so they’re like, `Let’s press.’ Immediately you kind of felt the energy in the building change, like there was a little bit of worry [among UVa fans].”
Hall helped ease some of that concern. He passed to senior big man Darion Atkins for a layup that pushed Virginia’s lead to 35-30. FSU rallied to take a 37-36 lead, but the left-handed Hall answered with a right-handed reverse layup at the 10:10 mark to put the `Hoos back in front for good.
He later had a turnover, though, and the Cavaliers struggled at times to get into their offense when he had the ball up top. Bennett substituted for Hall at the 6:47 mark.
“To Devon’s credit, I thought he had a couple plays where he was really poised,” McKay said, “and there were a couple others where his inexperienced showed a little bit. But he did a good job in stemming the tide for us a little bit, and I think he’s got to continue to believe in himself, because we have confidence in him.”
For the season, Hall has appeared in 20 games, with one start, and he made notable contributions in UVa’s road wins over VCU and NC State. He’s averaging 9.9 minutes per game and has 31 points, 17 assists, seven steals and 10 turnovers this season.
The experience he gained against Florida State, Hall believes, will help him against Wake. “Just being able to get in the flow of things and get my rhythm back,” he said.
Hall was one of three freshmen to play against FSU, along with Shayok and 6-7 forward Isaiah Wilkins.
“Those are important minutes for everybody,” Bennett said. “I really do believe that as they get this experience in these settings, when we get everybody healthy that will add to the quality of the depth and the experience that these guys have, and even for their futures for next year.”