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Nov. 20, 2015

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VIDEO: Coach Bennett Post Game Press Conference

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP)- Virginia coach Tony Bennett was simply looking for small steps forward at the Charleston Classic. His sixth-ranked Cavaliers have showed much more.

Marial Shayok had a career-high 17 points, London Perrantes added 15 and Virginia powered past an opponent for the second straight game to reach the tournament final with an 87-52 victory over Long Beach State on Friday night.

Virginia’s week started with a surprising 73-68 loss at George Washington. The Cavaliers (3-1) will try and end it with a Charleston Classic title when they face George Mason on Sunday night.

”You grow and you learn,” Bennett said. ”That’s what this early season is about. That’s what playing multiple games in a short amount of time will reveal to you.”

For Bennett, it revealed a deep, multi-faceted team capable of suffocating defense and explosive offense.

Virginia used a 19-2 run in the first half to pull away from the 49ers (3-1), holding them scoreless for about seven minutes of the period. Along with Shayok and Perrantes, three other Cavaliers went for double figures: Devon Hall with 12, Anthony Gill with 11 and Malcolm Brogdon with 10.

It makes for a tantalizing combination for Virginia fans to think about once Atlantic Coast Conference play starts.

Shayok said the George Washington loss aroused the Cavaliers. ”It was a good wake up call,” he said. ”We know what we have to do to play Virginia basketball, to play hard and play for one another.”

It was the second consecutive game Virginia turned it up, on Thursday night breaking from Bradley with an 18-3 run after trailing by three points in the first half. Virginia got itself back on track with that 82-57 victory and did not slow down a bit against Long Beach State.

Nick Faust led Long Beach State with 13 points.

The 49ers moved ahead 8-4 on Justin Bibbins’ 3-pointer. That’s when Virginia took off on a 19-4 run over the next 7 minutes and Long Beach State could not answer.

Shayok hit a 3-pointer to put the Cavaliers ahead for good, then followed with a layup. London Perrantes and Darius Thompson each had 3-pointers in the run. When Gill slammed home a dunk, Virginia was up 23-10.

The lead grew to 41 points in the second half.

Long Beach State coach Dan Monson said his team’s defense completely broke down when Virginia made its early run, although he acknowledged the Cavaliers had plenty to do with that.

”Once they got us down, they never let us get a breath to get us up,” he said.

Long Beach State used a fast-paced style to outpoint Seton Hall on Thursday night. This time, Virginia shut down the outlets and the 49ers outside game.

Long Beach State went almost eight minutes between field goals during one stretch of the opening half. The 49ers finished the half with just five made baskets, held to 23.8 percent shooting by Virginia’s swarming, relentless defense.

Faust, the Maryland transfer who averaged 10 points a game against Virginia while playing for the Terps, was locked down by the Cavaliers, too. He was held to 3 points on 1-of-4 shooting the first 20 minutes, often rushing shots with Virginia in his face.


Long Beach State: The 49ers were outscored in the paint 34-10. At one point, Virginia held a 28-0 lead in that category.

Virginia: When the Cavaliers reach 70 points, they’re usually successful. Virginia is 64-4 when scoring at least 70 points under coach Tony Bennett. It’s 74-61 when scoring under 70.


Virginia’s Anthony Gill finished this game stuck on 999 career points. He’ll get a chance to join the Cavaliers’ 1,000-point club on Sunday against George Mason.


Need more proof of Virginia’s dominance? Just look at points in the paint. The Cavaliers held a 34-10 average for the game. At one point, they led in that category 28-0 before Mason Riggins drove in for a 49ers basket with less than 10 minutes left in the game.


Long Beach will play Oklahoma State in the third-place game Sunday.

Virginia will play George Mason in the championship game Sunday.

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