In the first-ever meeting between the Virginia Cavaliers and Wichita State Shockers, the ‘Hoos opened up with a 20-4 run, hitting seven of their first eight shots. Wichita State responded with a 20-4 run of their own, and led a fast-paced, 11-1 late second-half run to defeat the Cavaliers 70-58. The loss snapped Virginia's 24-game winning streak against first time opponents (the last lost came against Gonzaga in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament).
"Obviously we got off to such a good start," said Virginia head coach Tony Bennett. "I thought our guys made some shots, but defensively I thought we really stifled them and limited them to force them into some turnovers, limited them to tough shots and we cleaned up the glass."
But "there were some things that hurt," Bennett added.
Bennett was referring to an intentional foul call against Virginia freshman Joe Harris. Harris swung his arms up and around to create room for the dribble, when his elbow made incidental contact with the defender’s face. Under the new NCAA rules, officials are required to call an intentional foul for any elbow contact above the opponent’s shoulders, giving that player two free throw shots and the opponent possession of the ball. Officials no longer have the option of calling it a common foul.
"There were a couple of momentum swings that were important for us. We don't have a huge margin of error and the end of that first half was a tough one. The flagrant foul or the unsportsmanlike, I don't know what they called that, that was a big shift."
None of the Cavalier bench was able to hit a field goal tonight, as 56 of Virginia’s 58 points came from its starters. Junior center Asane Sene was the only one to contribute from the bench, by way of two free throw buckets. On the other bench, Wichita State players contributed 28, with every player in the game contributing at least two.
"We're not a real deep team, but we've got to keep looking to develop our rotation and getting a little more. I played our main five or six guys heavy minutes and they responded well, but we need to get a little more help off the bench and keep finding ways."
Virginia (3-3) continues a brutal road game stretch on Monday at Minneapolis against a very good No. 13 Minnesota (6-0) squad which recently topped then-No. 8 North Carolina. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on ESPN2.