Virginia took care of business against the overmatched Delta Devils of Mississippi Valley State, putting the game away early on its way to a 67-39 win. Though the Hoos didn't have 100% intensity from start to finish, what they brought was more than enough to take care of a SWAC team that fell to 0-5 on the season. UVA improved to 8-2 and have won seven straight games headed into the 11-day final exam break.
Akil Mitchell led the way for the Hoos, finishing with 20 points, 10 of them as part of a 10-0 UVA run (Akil Mitchell run?) early in the second half. There was a clear mismatch inside, and Tony Bennett exploited it; it showed in Mitchell, Darion Atkins, and Mike Tobey's combined 39 points, as well as the team's 8 blocks on the defensive side.
Virginia's defense smothered yet another team, holding MVSU to 19% shooting, 13% from behind the arc. Three starters were held scoreless, and they finished the game with 3 assists, to Virginia's 17.
The team also had the chance to show off its athleticism, especially Justin Anderson, who finished an active game with 15 points and 9 rebounds. He also had the play of the day, driving the lane, faking a behind-the-back pass, and finishing with a two-handed slam. Mitchell added seemingly dozens more dunks, including two on back-to-back pick and rolls and one on a play where no Delta Devil defender could be found within 10 feet of the basket.
Despite the size advantage, Virginia lost the rebounding battle against a team that came into the game ranked dead last of the 347 D-I teams in defensive rebounding. The Hoos brought in 39 of 52 MVSU misses (75%), with the Delta Devils rebounding 33 of 40 (83%). While some of this could be attributed to Virginia's emphasis on getting back on defense, it also demonstrates the difficulty of keeping a high level of intensity against one of the poorer teams in D-I basketball, something Tony Bennett was on his team about for much of the game. Another mark in the "negative" column was UVA's propensity to foul; Mississippi Valley State had absolutely no chance at scoring from the floor, but got sent to the line 18 times, converting on 14.
The Hoos don't return to play until December 19th, when Morgan State comes to town. The team could "get their study on" in high spirits, as they haven't lost since November 13th, and it's clear sailing until UNC visits in early January.
Update (7:40 PM) - Here's the video of Justin Anderson's SportsCenter Top 10-worthy dunk: