Against a team who won only one Division-I game in its first season as a D-I team last season, Virginia head coach Tony Bennett changed up a few things tonight, including a starting lineup that included Will Sherrill, Assane Sene and Calvin Baker, alongside Sammy Zeglinski and Sylven Landesberg. Nine players saw 10 or greater playing time minutes, though the entire team hit the hardwood today, except for Jamil Tucker and Mike Scott, neither of whom dressed.
Perhaps it was the two-week break that got to the Cavaliers, but from what I could tell, it was not a pretty start. NJIT lit it up from beyond the arc, with three of their first four buckets counting as threes. Coach Bennett was not amused.
"I don’t know if we thought we could get it easy and just throw a knockout punch," he said. "I thought we were just a little sloppy, a little disconnected. We’ll chalk it up to the break, but we need to keep improving."
On the other side, Highlanders head coach Jim Engles was nothing but complimentary towards Virginia and Coach Bennett. This is one of the kindest opposing team coach's remarks I've ever heard. When asked what his concerns were on Virginia coming into the game, he commented:
"The fact that the Bennett name basically signifies defense. And one of our worst things right now is our offense. We have a very hard time scoring. He could probably buy a couple snowblowers with the money I have spent on his defensive videos. I was worried about that. I know they defend very well and I’ve watched their games – they play a pretty good schedule and have held some people down. My big concern was to get us some free shots."
The game marked the first season start for Baker and Sene. Jontel "Bub" Evans and Tristan Spurlock both scored career high points at 7 and 6 respectively, while Sammy Z. put up a career high 2 blocks. NJIT's 37 points is a new low for the John Paul Jones Arena. The Hoos return to action this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. against Hampton.
The Virginia Sports press release:
Jeff Jones scored 11 points to lead Virginia as they cruised past New Jersey Institute of Technology 68-37 on Monday night.
Sylven Landesberg chipped in with 10 points for the Cavaliers (5-4), while Assane Sene added 11 rebounds. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Virginia.
The Cavaliers ended the first half with an 8-0 run, and went into halftime with a 32-19 lead. In the second half, the lead ballooned to 28 points, as Virginia used a 14-2 run to take a 61-33 lead with 5:05 left in the game.
Jheryl Wilson led the Highlanders (3-8) with 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting.
NJIT shot 27.1 percent from the field (13-for-48), and shot 50 percent from the free throw line (5-for-10).
Virginia shot only 38.7 percent from the field (24-for-62), but outrebounded the Highlanders 46-31.