Coach Tony Bennett focused on one thing this summer: Defense. So why did we allow Longwood of all teams to score 72 on us? The Bennett Era HAS ARRIVED! And it starts with a win and a great turnout from students and fans alike, hurricane-like weather notwithstanding! Press release after the jump, my analysis to come early next week.
The Tony Bennett coaching era at Virginia began with an 85-72 win against Longwood on Friday night at John Paul Jones Arena.
Bennett, the former Washington State coach, was hired in April to replace Dave Leitao.
Virginia, behind 23 points from Sylven Landesberg and 17 from Mustapha Farrakhan, defeated Longwood in both team's season openers. Farrakhan's 17 points tied his career high. Mike Scott recorded his 11th career double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Sammy Zeglinski added 14 points and Jeff Jones 10 as the Cavaliers put all five of their starters in double figures.
The Cavaliers, who led 49-27 at halftime, were without sophomore center Assane Sene and senior forward Jamil Tucker.
The Cavaliers shot 60 percent (30-for-50) in the game and also were 19-for-24 (79 percent) at the free-throw line. Virginia also had a decided advantage on the boards, out-rebounding Longwood 36-21.
Longwood pulled to within 27-21 at the 4:22 mark in the first half before the Cavaliers exploded over the final four minutes, going on a 22-6 run to stretch the lead to 49-27. The Lancers got no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
The Lancers were led by Antwan Carter's 18 points.