It was a slow first half, but the Virginia Cavaliers walked away from the Barclays Center with the NIT Season Tip-Off Championship title under their belt, defeating the Rhode Island Rams 70 to 55, bringing home their fifth early-season tournament title under head coach Tony Bennett.
Rhode Island had upset No. 20 Seton Hall on Thursday night 75-74 to earn the right to face Virginia in the championships. Offensively, the Rams gave Virginia fits with high octane speed and dribble penetration, while on the other end of the court, the Rams brought out one of the most stifling defenses the Hoos have battled this year with tight man coverage from the get go.
Virginia’s Kyle Guy was a clear emphasis for Rhodey’s defense, as Guy was shut down for most of the first half, as he was held to just two points and three turnovers in the first half. Stepping up in Guy’s stead were Isaiah Wilkins and Devon Hall. Wilkins finished with a career-high and team high 19 points, while Hall put up 18 of his own.
Tournament MVP Isaiah Wilkins and your @NITTipOff champs! #GoHoos pic.twitter.com/KSSIJcfi3S— Virginia Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) November 25, 2017
Action for the Hoos returns on Monday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge when Virginia plays host to Wisconsin on ESPN 2. The Hoos are 2-2 all time against the Badgers, losing the last contest in 2013 by a final score of (avert your eyes) 48-38.
Tip-off is at 9:00 p.m. ET.