With four players scoring in the double digits, Virginia commanded Saturday's matchup against Oral Roberts, 76-55 in the final game of the Cancun Challenge before the 'Hoos head to Cancun to take on the Stanford Cardinals. The 'Hoos shot 45.5% from the field, a number I hope will continue to rise as the year progresses.
Forward Mike Scott led the Cavs with 15 points, but got plenty of help on the offense, as ACC Rookie of the Year Sylven Landesberg picked up 14 points and Mustapha Farrakhan and Sammy Zeglinski each contributed 13 a piece. In commenting on four guys scoring double digits, Head Coach Tony Bennett says, "The more guys you can get touching the ball and scoring, the harder you are to defend."
Jerome Meyinsse got the nod for the start, but was only able 2 points and 6 rebounds to the cause. Leading the team in rebounds was, of course, big man MIke Scott, with 10, 6 of which came off the defensive boards.
Saturday's game also meant the return of the giant 7-footer Assane Sene, who contributed a respectable 8 points and 7 rebounds. Coach Bennett was happy to see that he was able to put in some serious minutes, but had comments on his defense.
"We have to get him to play with his feet instead of his hands and play in proper position. That certainly was the case. Our defense is such a position-oriented system that if you're in the right spot you shouldn't be reaching. That is why I got mad at Will [Sherrill] a couple of times - he had some fouls he didn't need to make. There is such a temptation to slap down on the ball so we work a lot in practice on making guys make plays over the top. We will be working on that with Assane but this is his first time and this is the fourth game of the season. He also didn't get to scrimmage against St. John's so I think being excited is a normal thing."
The Cavaliers, now 3-1, head to Cancun to face Stanford on Tuesday. Virginia will then play either Kentucky or Cleveland State.
Coach Bennett is looking forward to these upcoming games and the busy schedule. More importantly, he's glad the team is getting the experience before opening ACC play.
"I hope we've progressed. It's baby steps. ... There are steps and it will take time but this was a good win for us."