Virginia recovered from a heartbreaking home loss against VCU to defeat Davidson 70-57. Tied at 27 toward the end of the second half, the Hoos used a 20-6 run to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish, despite sloppy stretches on both sides of the ball. With the win, the Hoos improve to 2-1 on the season, while the Wildcats drop to 0-3.
The Hoos' eventual run came only after some...probing by a furious Tony Bennett. After Davidson grabbed two offensive rebounds before making an open three-pointer on their first possession of the second half, Coach Bennett uncharacteristically called a quick timeout. At that point in the game, the Wildcats had made 8 three-pointers in 19 tries (counting for 24 of the team's 30 points). After the timeout, the defense wasn't perfect, but the Hoos succeeded in chasing Davidson off the three-point line - the Wildcats made 3 three-pointers the rest of the way on just 9 attempts.
Despite UVA's inconsistencies, the Hoos' interior supremacy gave Davidson little chance without a persistent barrage of three-pointers. The team had an off day, and displayed a markedly lower intensity level than Davidson, but depended on their length and talent advantage to power by an overmatched opponent.
Davidson's 39% three-point shooting and 37% offensive rebounding percentage caused Virginia to have it's worst defensive performance of the season, allowing 57 points in 60 possessions. After the game, Coach Bennett called Davidson's 18 offensive rebounds "alarming." Defensive rebounds are a strength of the Packline, and an aspect that the team excelled in during the first two games. Going forward, the team will have to get back to cleaning up a higher percentage of opponent misses.
Davidson was clearly outmatched in the frontcourt, and predictably played the three-point lottery. Virginia's failure to adjust quickly kept the first half neck-and-neck.
Virginia's defensive rebounding woes (63% DReb%) were tempered by Davidson's rebounding just 43% of UVA misses, as Mike Tobey picked up 5 of the team's 16 offensive rebounds. Tobey led the Wahoo offense with 18 points on 8-11 shooting, as he cleaned up the offensive glass for easy points. . Malcolm Brogdon also had an impressive, efficient afternoon. He scored 15 on 6-9 shooting, including one from behind the arc, while also adding 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and just 1 turnover. Akil Mitchell scored 13, while Justin Anderson had a sneaky 12 points, including a dagger three, after he was left wide open with 3:14 to play, to give the team a 12 point lead.
Overall, Tobey, Brogdon, Mitchell, and Anderson combined for 58 of the team's 70 points on 22 for 31 shooting. The remainder of the team had 12 points, going 3 for 19 from the field. Joe Harris was missing in action, missing all 5 of his field goals and scoring his only point on a free-throw with under a minute to play.
Turnovers were an issue for the Hoos; the team turned the ball over on 29% of possessions, including 35% in a sloppy first half. Akil Mitchell was to blame for 6 of the team's 17 turnovers, while Harris, Gill, and Tobey had 3 each.
It wasn't pretty, but at the end of the day, Virginia, a 10 point favorite at a pro-Davidson "neutral site," beat a decent Davidson squad by 13 points. The invisible Joe Harris was a concern, though the ability of his teammates to overcome this and put together a largely efficient offensive performance was encouraging. The return of an unstoppable Harris would make the Wahoo offense scary-good. The question remains: When are we getting that Joe Harris back?
Looking ahead, the Hoos have time to develop some offensive chemistry, while Tony Bennett determines the best lineup combinations to get the team going. (Today, London Perrantes started at point guard, with Justin Anderson coming off the bench). The team's next three games, all at home, come against Navy, Liberty, and Hampton, possibly the three poorest teams on the rest of the schedule until the Hokies come to town.