Cavs keep hot start burning

Mike Scott watched most of the first half because of foul trouble and couldn’t have liked what he saw.

He made up for it quickly once the second half got going.

The senior forward scored 10 of his 17 points during a 12-point spurt early in the second half and No. 23 Virginia beat Maryland-Eastern Shore 69-42 on Tuesday night.

”I was making up for lost time when I was on the bench,” Scott said after playing just 8 minutes in the first half. ”I just felt like I needed to be more aggressive offensively.”

Scott got all his points in just 15 minutes, and added six rebounds and two assists before taking a seat as coach Tony Bennett emptied his bench – giving younger players the lion’s share of minutes.

”I just want to keep playing good ball and knowing that the good competition is coming,” Bennett said.

The Cavaliers play Towson on Friday night before taking on LSU on Jan. 2.

Darion Atkins added 13 points and Joe Harris had 10 for Virginia, which is off to an 11-1 start for the first time since the 2000-01 season. The Cavaliers were playing their first game since KT Harrell and redshirt freshman James Johnson announced on consecutive days last week that they were transferring.

It hardly mattered against the Hawks (3-10), who trailed 30-20 at halftime and saw it quickly get out of hand in the second half. Coach Frankie Allen called two timeouts within the first 3 1/2 minutes, but neither helped as the Hawks had three turnovers and no answer for Scott.

”All of a sudden, he looked around and said this team should be hanging around,” Allen said.

Hillary Haley led the Hawks with 11 points, but missed nine of 19 field goal tries. UMES shot just 27.8 percent against Virginia’s defense and managed just 14 points in the paint.

Haley started the second half with a 3-pointer for UMES, but Scott hit a 12-foot jumper and a layup off a feed from Sammy Zeglinski. After Jontel Evans’ driving layup, Scott had a breakaway dunk, another basket and a layup after some highlight reel passing.

On the play, Zeglinski fed Joe Harris, who made a touch pass to Scott for the easy lay-in, making it 42-23

The big attraction the rest of the game was the play of freshman Paul Jesperson. Virginia planned to redshirt the sharpshooter from Merrill, Wis., but no longer has that luxury after losing Harrell, who had started five games, and Johnson, in the two days before Christmas.

Jesperson was cheered every time he reported to the scorer’s table, and drew one of the loudest roars of the night with 10 minutes left when he made a 3-pointer from the right corner off an inbound pass. Moments later, he was called for charging on a driving layup try.

”That was cool of them to congratulate me like they did,” he said after finishing with five points on 2-for-6 shooting. ”It was nice of them to show me some love.”

Walk-on guard Doug Browman also drew a huge roar when he made a late 3-pointer.

Virginia came out fast, scoring the first nine points. The Cavaliers also had an 11-5 run late in the first half to open the 30-20 lead.


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