Huff Shines in Debut as Virginia Rolls Austin Peay, 93-49
Box Score Nov. 13, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Freshman Jay Huff, who made his collegiate debut, acknowledged he was impatient to get into his first college game, and he wasn’t the only one.
When he rose and headed for the scorer’s table to check in about six minutes into Virginia’s game against Austin Peay on Monday night, there was a slight roar from the crowd, anxious to see what the stretch-four 7-footer could do, and if he could live up to the hype about his abilities.
He wasted no time showing them, putting on a show with 16 points as the Cavaliers made quick work of Austin Peay, 93-49.
”I heard the noise. It was nice. It was good to hear,” Huff said. ”… When you are out there on the floor, it felt amazing.”
Huff, who redshirted last year and never left the bench in Virginia’s opener, hit his first six shots and finished 7 for 8 with two 3-pointers. He blocked five shots.
”He was great. He shot it with confidence, and to not play and then hop in and do that, you have to have some toughness,” teammate Devon Hall said.
Hall led Virginia (2-0) with a career-high 19 points and Kyle Guy had 14, but the night clearly belonged to Virginia’s biggest player.
The Cavaliers led 13-5 when he entered the game to cheers with 13:50 left in the first half. He turned those cheers to roars 33 seconds later when he made the 3-pointer. He made the crowd downright giddy with a putback dunk just over a minute later, and hit all six of his first-half shots for 13 points.
His final three, and the final points of the game, gave Virginia its highest point total in Tony Bennett‘s ninth season as coach.
Dayton Gumm led the Governors (0-2) with 13. Austin Peay gave up more points off turnovers in the first half, 23, than it scored, trailing 51-22.
”If anyone was questioning where Virginia’s offense was, we gave them the confidence to get their offense back,” Governors coach Matt Figger said.
THE BIG PICTURE
Austin Peay: The Governors, who reached the NCAA Tournament just two years ago, are in the midst of a complete program overhaul since the retirement of coach Dave Loos, the career victories leader in the Ohio Valley Conference. They have a first-year, first-time head coach in Figger and eight new players.
Virginia: The Cavaliers looked better offensively than in their opener against UNC Greensboro, but it had as much to do with the competition as Virginia’s ability to get shots almost at will. The home team took the ball to the basket with ease, helping produce 70.4-percent first-half shooting (19-27).
NEWCOMERS ON DISPLAY
Huff wasn’t the only player in his first year in the Virginia lineup to have a nice night.
Graduate transfer guard Nigel Johnson had 10 points, two steals and an assists in 17 minutes; De’Andre Hunter, like Huff a redshirt freshman, scored 13 points in 21 minutes; freshman Marco Anthony hit his first shot and finished with two points and four assists; and walk-on Austin Katstra knocked down a 3-pointer.
The latter also drew raucous applause, and Bennett joked later that Katstra is already better than his father, Dirk, a former Virginia player who is in his 20th year as executive director of the Virginia Athletics Foundation. The elder Katstra played on three NCAA Tournament teams in a career spanning from 1987 to 1991.
Austin Peay plays at home for the first time this season, facing Oakland City.
Virginia steps up significantly in competition, facing VCU and first-year coach Mike Rhoades.
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