Thanksgiving is for food, family, and Virginia Basketball utterly dominating their competition. The Hoos, now 5-0 on the season, got hot early as they defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 68-42 in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Kyle Guy once again led the Cavaliers with 18 points as the Virginia offense shot 45% from the field and 48% from three for the game. Both Ty Jerome (14 points) and Mamadi Diakite (12 points) hit double digits in the game.
The Hoos got off to a fast start, getting a bucket from Isaiah Wilkins and back-to-back three pointers from Devon Hall and Jerome to build an 8-0 lead. Virginia held the Commodores scoreless until a free throw at the 15:44 mark in the first half.
Guy led all Virginia scorers in the first half, despite starting the game 0-for-4 from the field. He heated up down the stretch, finishing the first half 4-for-6 from the field and 3-for-5 from three for 11 points. Every Cavalier who played in the first half scored, with Ty Jerome adding eight and Wilkins chipping in six. Virginia was an impressive 53% from the field and 58% (7-of-12) from three in the first half.
Virginia’s defense put on a clinic for the small but raucous crowd spending their holiday at the Barclay’s Center, holding the Commodores to just 26% from the field (33% from three). Matthew Fisher-Davis led Vandy with nine first half points, but he also picked up three fouls in the early going.
Vanderbilt did not score their first field goal of the game until the 12:17 mark of the first half and only made six field goals in the first 20 minutes. The Hoos combined for five first half blocks with Isaiah Wilkins collecting three on the same defensive possession. The Commodores committed seven turnovers in the first half, three of which came off of UVA steals.
Conversely, Virginia was moving and taking care of the ball well with 11 assists on 17 made shots and just one turnover in the first 20 minutes.
Jerome had the hot hand to start the second half, hitting back-to-back three pointers himself to extend Virginia’s lead to over 30 points. The Hoos slowed down a bit offensively in the second half, but the defense played very well, forcing Vanderbilt into ill-advised or last minute shots.
Vanderbilt’s Riley LaChance, who came into the game averaging 14.8 points per game, was held scoreless in the game and only took three shots. No one could get it going against the Cavaliers today as the Hoos held Vandy to 33 points under their season average of 75 coming into today’s game.
Virginia had 18 points in the paint, and scored in a multitude of ways. The Wahoo big men played well in the post, and had some phenomenal passes throughout the game.
Next up, the Hoos will face either Seton Hall or Rhode Island at 7:30pm tomorrow night (Friday) in the NIT Season Tip-Off championship game.
Mamadi Diakite gave the Hoos 25 outstanding minutes with 12 points and five rebounds in the game. He played well in the post, and pulled up for some silky jumpers. Diakite adding to his game is a huge bonus for Virginia offensively and can be a real asset that end of the court.
-Guy has now scored at least 13 points in all five games the Hoos have played. That seems pretty good.
-Jack Salt pulled in nine rebounds to lead the Hoos to go with a block and two points.
-The fans in the crowd with the “Tony & Guy > Turkey & Pie” signs, even though I’m still having both turkey and pie after watching this game.
-STL friend Bobby “Westside” for participating in - and winning - the layup contest at the under-8 timeout.