Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
On only two days rest, the Virginia Cavalier men's basketball team took care of business against the visiting Boston College Eagles, 65-51 this afternoon at John Paul Jones Arena.
Four. Three. One. Five. Those are the margins by which Boston College had lost its four ACC setbacks. One of those games was against then-#23 N.C. State. Another was against now #25 Miami - who just upset #1-ranked Duke.
As such, Virginia fans would have been excused if they were worried that this would be a close contest. They would have been further excused if they were concerned after a bad defense, bad offense first half that found them sitting with a 26-24 deficit in the locker room.
Not to worry, Wahoo faithful.
The Cavaliers came storming back in the opening minutes of the second half, taking a lead they would not relinquish. Eventually, fans were only left wondering if the Eagles would break the 50 point mark. They did, on an uncontested three-pointer with only seconds remaining on the clock.
The freshman class will likely be the most talked about bunch following this game. Justin Anderson, Evan Nolte and Mike Tobey each added their own fingerprint to the game at various points throughout.
Anderson did just about everything on both sides of the ball, concluding the effort with two dunks that got the crowd on its feet in the waning moments of the game. He finished with a game high 16 points - tied with junior Akil Mitchell - on 7 for 9 shooting. He also contributed two rebounds, two assists and no turnovers in 25 minutes of action.
Nolte wasn't exactly the prolific shooter that showed up in Blacksburg, but he still managed 9 points on 4 of 5 shooting and chipped in a nice looking block - all while being plagued by what might generously be called "questionable" foul trouble.
Tobey had 8 points on what is listed as 4 of 7 shooting - though frankly I can't remember him missing a shot.
But let's not give all of the credit to the first years. Akil Mitchell was tied with Anderson with a game high 16 points even though he was visibly frustrated by a lack of foul calls in the first half. He had six rebounds, a steal and a block to go along with his points.
And of course there's Joe Harris. Like Nolte, he wasn't the sharpshooter we had seen just a couple of days ago. But he contributed all over the court anyway. He had seven points, five rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
Defensively, it was a bit of a mixed bag. In the first half, the Cavaliers allowed the Eagles to shoot three pointers much more wide open than I'm sure coach Tony Bennett would have liked. Four consecutive treys was what took away a comfortable Virginia lead and gave BC the edge at the half. The Eagles also out-rebounded the Cavaliers 16-15 in the period.
But the second half was a different story. The Eagles only made two shots from the bonusphere and were generally locked down by the Cavalier defense we have all grown to love. While the visiting team's shot percentage was basically the same in the second half as in the first, it was two-point buckets that were dropping, not treys. Beyond that, Virginia dominated the boards, holding a 14-8 edge in the half
Ryan Anderson, BC's leading scorer was held to 14 points, a bit below his season average and he had to work had to get all of those points. He regularly had a hand in his face and had several of his attempts rejected. Freshman Olivier Hanlan was also held a good chunk below his season average, just squeaking into double digits with 10 - three of which came at the end of the game with the outcome already decided.
Virginia continues its homestand on Tuesday when the Wolfpack of N.C. State come to town. Tip off is at 7pm and the game will be televised by ESPN2. The 'Pack (15-4, 4-2 ACC), currently ranked #18, take on in-state rival North Carolina tonight at 8pm. The Cavaliers then travel to Georgia Tech on Sunday for a 3pm tip off.