Monday, December 05, 2005

Hoos Fall Short against GT 63-54

It was a game of what if?

What if the Cavaliers hadn't shot 27% from the field and 0-13 from behind the arc?

What if Sean Singletary could have done better than 3-23 shooting for 10 points?

What if the Cavaliers had not committed EIGHTEEN turnovers?

The Cavaliers would have won, that's what. Virginia, despite all these handicaps were in the game until the end. Narrowing a 15-point deficit to four with around four minutes to go in the game. Virginia didn't do it with talent or luck, but pure intensity and defense. I firmly believe teams of yesteryear would have folded after a horrible first half where the Cavaliers managed only 17 points. Instead they held firm. Jason Cain had a career day, with 15 points and 11 rebounds both a personal best. Mamadi Diane made some critical baskets and with Sean Singletary struggling, co-captain J.R. Reynolds became a leader and made many Yellow Jacket fans nervous. Coach Leitao cannot be happy with the loss, but he has to be proud of the way his team played. It will be that kind of intensity that Virginia will need to have any sort of success this year.

The game was also significant because it was the unexpected return of PG T.J. Bannister. Bannister has been rehabing from offseason surgery and was not expected to play again. While only out there for the final two minutes of the first half, he put pressure off of Singletary who had been dogged all game long by Georgia Tech's Mario West. To be able to put Sean in the shooting guard slot even occasionally could really free up a non-existent offense.

Also in guards, walk-on Billy Campbell played one of his greatest games in his hometown of Atlanta going for 4 points in thirteen minutes. The biggest stat for him though, was only one turnover against a tough GT defense. He made a lot of believers yesterday, and will continue to grow as the team does.

Next up for the Cavaliers will be the Fordham Rams on Wednesday December 7, 2005. The Rams are 1-6 on the season, their sole winning coming against Norfolk State. Despite the bad record, Fordham has a great deal of height that may be a potential matchup problem for Virginia's relatively short team. Jermaine Anderson and Bryant Dunston carry the load as far as points and rebounds go. The Cavaliers will look to shut these two down and improve upon their current 3-2 mark. If Virginia can show the same energy and passion to this game that they did last night, they should be able to do just that.


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