No. 13 Virginia handled the Hampton Pirates, 82-48, to close out their non-conference schedule and improve to 11-1 on the season. Kyle Guy led the way for the Hoos with 15 points, 12 of which came in the second half. De’Andre Hunter added 14 points, Ty Jerome had 10 points, and Devon Hall and Nigel Johnson each chipped in nine points in the win.
This is the fourth straight year that Virginia has lost just one or fewer games before starting ACC play.
Virginia shot 29-for-64 from the field (45%) and 8-for-19 from three (42%) in the game and only turned the ball over eight times. The Hoos outscored Hampton 34-10 in the paint, and 38-15 off the bench.
The last time the Hoos met Hampton was in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in 2016, when Virginia cruised to an 81-45 victory thanks to 19 points from Anthony Gill. Wahoo fans may remember that game not for the performance on the court, but as the game in which Tony Bennett collapsed on the sidelines.
Tonight, things didn’t start off as dominating for the home squad as two three pointers and a nice finish inside gave the Pirates an 8-6 lead early in the game, but Jerome continued his hot shooting from his last outing to tie up the game at eight.
Virginia went scoreless for 4:30, falling behind 14-9 before a Jerome three pointer gave the offense some life. Tied at 17 with just over 8:30 left in the first half, Isaiah Wilkins battled the length of the court to corral a rebound. He laid out for the ball and smartly called the :30 timeout. On the ensuing offensive possession out of the timeout, Jerome buried a corner three and gave the Hoos a 20-17 lead.
Our glue guy @isaiahwilkins21 had one of the most relentless 30 seconds of hustle you will ever see. 17-17 at 8:36 1H. #HAMPvsUVA— Virginia Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) December 23, 2017
With 4:09 left in the first half with Virginia holding a slight lead 24-23, Hampton’s Greg Heckstall was called for a foul under the basket against Wilkins. Heckstall then said something the referee was not a fan of, earning himself a technical foul. Hall buried both free throws for the technical, Wilkins hit both of his free throws for the foul, Wilkins corralled a turnover on the other end, and Kyle Guy crushed a three, all of the sudden giving the Hoos a 31-23 lead.
Virginia led 40-25 at the half, going on a 16-2 run following the technical foul assessed on Heckstall. The Hoos shot just 39% in the first half, including 44% from three. Jerome led the team in the first half for the second straight game, scoring 10 points. Wilkins stuffed his stat line in the first 20 minutes, scoring six points, grabbing six rebounds, and adding two steals, two assists, and a block in 17 minutes played.
Hampton went 5-for-9 beyond the arc in the first half, and went just 7-for-20 (35%) from the field. Heckstall led the Pirates with eight first half points, a team-high five points. The Pirates turned the ball over eight times in the first half, leading to seven points for Virginia. The Hoos were able to pull down eight offensive rebounds over the course of the first 20 minutes (four of which were Wilkins’s), resulting in 12 second chance points.
Hall hit his first field goal of the game early in the second half, drilling a three after a quiet 0-for-6 first half. Virginia cruised in the second half as both Guy and Hall heated up and the defense clamped down on the Pirates. The Hoos used an 18-4 run over six minutes in the second half to go up by as much as 29 points.
DeAndre Hunter played 19 minutes, finishing with 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting (1-for-1 from three). Jay Huff got into the game in the second half, providing some big blocks and an electric alley-oop that got the small, exam-break crowd on their feet in Charlottesville. Huff finished with six points and four rebounds in just 10 minutes.
Hampton finished the game shooting 26% from the field and 44% from three. Jermaine Marrow led the Pirates with 11 points.
Akim Mitchell - the little brother of Virginia great Akil Mitchell - finished the game with five points on 1-for-5 shooting (1-2 from three).
Virginia returns to the hardwood on December 30 to open ACC play against Boston College (9-3, 1-0 ACC).
Most Valuable Player
Isaiah Wilkins has just one speed, and that’s all out at all times. He plays tough and is the ultimate utility player as he can score, rebound, chase down loose balls, block, get steals, and play lockdown defense. Wilkins never gets national attention beyond the “ultimate glue guy” moniker, but there’s so much more to him. His selfless play makes Virginia better, and though his stats are rarely flashy in one category, he’s just so important in every aspect of the game.
His final stat line: six points, nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks, two steals, one turnover.