Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cavs slash Lancers 91-56

In a game like this, where on paper you completely outclass your opponent, you look to just take care of business. A loss is crippling, a win expected. Virginia handled Longwood as they should have, maybe not perfectly, but still very well and gets their record to 13-9 (6-5 ACC) on the season.

The first half was mired by sloppy defense on both sides. Virginia had any shot they wanted all game long, but for much of the first half so did the Lancers. Virginia head coach Dave Leitao could not be happy with such a lackadaisical effort, and it showed. The second half Virginia's defense got into shape and the blowout was complete. Longwood hit a jaw-droppingly pathetic 6-32 from the field in the second half, that's 19%. It allowed Virginia's reserves some well earned playing time and kept the lead growing instead of dwindling.

Virginia was led by Singletary was always, as the sophomore continues to show that he is one of the best in the nation with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in 25 minutes. Reynolds had foul trouble early but still managed to pull off 16 points with 4-9 shooting behind the arc in 24 minutes. Adrian Joseph was the only other Cavalier in double figures with 11. His jump shooting has become spot on, but it's pretty easy with the defense Longwood played. The Cavaliers shot 61.8% in the first half before cooling down considerably in the second (although walk ons had something to do with that too). Virginia had every single player on the roster score except Matt Deasey. This was also the return of T.J. Bannister to action, who showed his amazing vision again with 5 assists. It's amazing how good Bannister could be if he could hit the jump shot.

Longwood was led by Kirk Williams and Clayton Morgan who both had 11 points each. Dana Smith chipped in an extra 10 points with 4 offensive rebounds. The best big man was Tunji Soroye of Virginia who had 4 blocks, 7 rebounds and two steals. Soroye showed probably some of his best moves all year long. As a player he has always been sort of an enigma, while every other player has been great strides this year, Soroye has taken a sidestep. Maybe this game will give him some confidence and help him compete with Jason Cain and Lars Mikalauskas for crowd's cheers.

Next up for Virginia are the Florida State Seminoles. The Noles are coming off a bad performance against N.C. State on the road. FSU is one of those schools like Virginia with a chance to go to the NCAA, but not a great one. The Seminoles are 15-7, 5-6 in the ACC and right on the bubble. The Virginia game for them is really a must win, they have Miami and VT on the road, Duke and Maryland at home. Those are four very tough game and so the pressure is on for Leonard Hamilton and his players because they will be desperate on Saturday.

Virginia is pretty close to desperate too. At 6-5, they are 13-9 and really would need a strong showing for the NCAA. While it would be difficult, Virginia has shown the ability to compete with any team in the ACC. Virginia has 3 road games and 2 home games left. Virginia will really need to win both home games and probably steal either Clemson and/or FSU on the road. If Virginia does that, it could be time for dancing shoes. It's a tall task, but it all starts Saturday.


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