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The Cavaliers hold the Tigers to just 10 points in the first half for their 13th straight home win.
February 7, 2013
Charlottesville, VA USA; Virginia Cavaliers forward Akil Mitchell (25) dunks the ball as Clemson Tigers forward Bernard Sullivan (22) watches in the second half at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers won 78-41. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
February 7, 2013
Charlottesville, VA USA; Virginia Cavaliers guard Joe Harris (12) shoots the ball as Clemson Tigers guard Adonis Filer (3) and Tigers forward K.J. McDaniels (32) defend in the second half at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers won 78-41. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Friday, February 8, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE — As his basketball team approached the midway point of the ACC schedule, Virginia coach Tony Bennett advised his players to take the floor with “poised desperation.”
Based on the results Thursday night at John Paul Jones Arena, he might want to patent that expression.
UVa held Clemson to 10 points in the first half and led by as many as 41 points in a 78-41 romp.
The margin of victory was Virginia’s widest against an ACC opponent since the Cavaliers defeated Duke 109-66 in the 1983 ACC Tournament.
Clemson’s 10 points in the first half represented the lowest one-half output for a Cavalier opponent since Maryland scored 10 points against Virginia in the second half of a game in 1981.
“Those guys were not only really ready to play,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said, “but, when they got off to the great start, they kept their foot on the gas.
“They didn’t let up in any way on either end. They played like a team on a mission.”
It was the 13th straight home victory for the Cavaliers, who previously had not won more than 12 consecutive home games in the seven years that John Paul Jones Arena has been open.
Virginia (16-6, 6-3 ACC) avenged an earlier setback at Clemson, where the Tigers prevailed 59-44, and regained some of the momentum from a 66-60 loss Sunday at Georgia Tech, where the Cavaliers led by nine points with under eight minutes remaining.
“The Georgia Tech game stung,” UVa junior Joe Harris said. “Obviously, you never want to drop one like that, especially when you come in expecting to win and trying to build off a big win we had over N.C. State.
“Our goal every year is to make the [NCAA] Tournament and we understand the circumstances that we’re in.”
The Cavs were up 65-31 when they substituted for Harris with 7:09 left and there was no need for him to return. He finished with 21 points and personally had outscored the Tigers (12-10, 4-6) through 28 minutes.
Virginia had won four of its previous five games but was without the services of two injured post players, junior Darion Atkins and Mike Tobey. Atkins has now missed five of the last six games with a stress fracture in one of his shins and Tobey was diagnosed with mononucleosis Tuesday.
He had played nine minutes Sunday against Georgia Tech and scored one point — five days after scoring 13 points in a 58-55 victory over 19th-ranked N.C. State.
“He was really lethargic in the Georgia Tech game,” Bennett said, “and I joked [that] it looked during that game like someone shot him in the rear end with a tranquilizer dart.
“We’re just discouraged because he was coming on and we really need him.”
In the first Clemson game, Atkins and Tobey shared defensive responsibility for 6-foot-8, 250-pound junior Devin Booker, who had 15 points and nine rebounds in that game.
Akil Mitchell was assigned to Booker on Thursday and held him to seven points and nine rebounds. Booker also had four of Clemson’s 19 turnovers, six of them coming on the Tigers’ first seven possessions of the game.
Mitchell went 7-of-11 from the field and finished with 16 points, six rebounds and four steals. He also had a career-high four dunks.
Another Clemson veteran, 6-9 senior Milton Jennings, had 21 points and 11 rebounds in the first game. UVa freshman Justin Anderson, making his first start since the season-opener game, started out on Jennings and helped hold him to a season-low two points.
Anderson had 14 points, three steals and two assists. He threw an over-the-head pass to Mitchell for a dunk and later took an alley-oop from Jontel Evans for his own dunk.
“He’s going to be on SportsCenter’s Top 10,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been trying to get that for three years, and he’s probably going to do it in his first year.
“I can’t be mad. He brings energy on the court, in the locker room, on the bus, everywhere. That kid is non-stop. He’s good for our team.”
Jennings 1-7 0-0 2, Booker 3-5 1-2 7, McDaniels 4-10 1-1 10, Hall 1-4 0-1 2, Harrison 1-5 4-4 6, Fields 1-2 0-0 2, Filer 1-5 0-0 2, Roper 3-10 2-4 8, Sullivan 1-2 0-0 2, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Nnoko 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-52 8-12 41.
Mitchell 7-11 2-2 16, Evans 1-4 0-0 2, Jesperson 2-8 0-0 5, Harris 7-10 5-6 21, Anderson 6-9 1-2 14, Browman 0-0 0-2 0, Barnette 3-4 0-0 9, Jones 1-3 0-0 2, Nolte 3-4 0-0 9, Kirven 0-1 0-0 0, Rogers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-54 8-12 78.
Halftime—Virginia 38-10. 3-Point Goals—Clemson 1-17 (McDaniels 1-3, Hall 0-1, Fields 0-1, Booker 0-1, Filer 0-2, Jennings 0-3, Roper 0-3, Harrison 0-3), Virginia 10-24 (Barnette 3-4, Nolte 3-4, Harris 2-4, Anderson 1-4, Jesperson 1-7, Jones 0-1). Fouled Out—Nolte. Rebounds—Clemson 33 (Booker 9), Virginia 29 (Mitchell 6). Assists—Clemson 4 (Filer 2), Virginia 17 (Evans 8). Total Fouls—Clemson 10, Virginia 17. A—9,942.
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