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No. 4 Virginia decimates Coppin State in lopsided 97-40 win

Hunters shines with 20 as Virginia cruises to 3-0 on the season.

NCAA Basketball: Coppin State at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers improved to 3-0 on the season with a dominating 97-40 win over the visiting Coppin State Eagles. This one was never in doubt as the Hoos led from tip to tail, getting a stellar 20-point performance out of De’Andre Hunter. The 57-point win is Virginia’s third-largest margin of victory in program history, and the 97 points scored by the Hoos is the most under Tony Bennett.

Virginia shot 60% from the field and 60% from three in the game, only turning the ball over four times. Nine different players for Virginia made a three-pointer, and all 12 player who saw the court scored.

Mamadi Diakite, who got the start thanks to Jack Salt being held out with back stiffness, set a new career high in points with 18 on 7-for-9 shooting (including 2-for-2 from three). Jay Huff added nine points and played 16 minutes, and Ty Jerome had 11 points, four rebounds, six assists, and two steals.

On the defensive end, Virginia used a 2-2-1 press before settling into the half court defense. Coppin State turned the ball over 16 times in the game, and Virginia had eight steals and five blocks. The Hoos had 25 points off of turnovers, making the most of their opportunities.

Hunter got the scoring underway with a three-pointer, assisted by Jerome. Diakite scored back-to-back baskets for the Hoos on a layup and a long two, and Virginia never looked back.

Coppin State got on the board with a three ball from Lamar Morgan, and teammate Dejuan Clayton made it 7-5 with an easy layup. After back to back empty trips on the offensive end by the Cavaliers, Jerome found Hunter again for a three as the Hoos doubled up the Eagles 10-5.

An old-fashioned three-point play from Hunter, an emphatic dunk from Huff, and a friendly rim-bouncer from Hunter gave Virginia a 17-5 lead with 13:35 remaining in the first half. The Eagles broke into double digits at the 7:51 mark thanks to a dunk by Cedric Council, cutting Virginia’s lead to 13 at 23-10.

Three-pointers from Kihei Clark and Huff pushed the lead over 20 points as Virginia had complete control of the game. Clark finished the first half 3-for-7 from three as the Hoos led 45-17 at the intermission.

Hunter led Virginia with 11 points in the first half, followed by Clark with nine, and Jerome with eight. Diakite (3-for-3), Huff (3-for-3), and Hunter (4-for-4) combined for 24 points and a perfect 10-for-10 shooting from the field in the first half. As a team, the Hoos shot 61% from the field and 46% from three.

Defensively, Virginia held Coppin State to 26% shooting as the Eagles had more first half turnovers (9) than made field goals (7). Coppin State went 3-for-12 from three in the first half, and Morgan led the team with six points on two made threes. Virginia was only called for six first half fouls, and the Eagles didn’t shoot a single free throw in the first 20 minutes.

Jerome opened the second half with a three pointer, but Ibn Williams answered with one of his own for the Eagles. Virginia went on a 20-2 run over the next 5:44 as the Hoos buried three pointers, hit free throws, and slammed home dunks.

Everyone got in on the action late in the second half as Kody Stattmann (six points), Austin Katstra (three points), and Jayden Nixon (two points) saw play down the stretch. John Paul Jones Arena lost their minds as Charlottesville native and manager-turned-walk-on Grant Kersey drilled a three to put Virginia up 97-38 with just under a minute to play.

Next up, Virginia hits the road for the Bahamas and the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis. The Hoos face Middle Tennessee State on Wednesday at 9:30 pm. The game will be televised by ESPN2.