No. 7 Virginias beat Providence for Emerald Coast title

Providence forward Rodney Bullock (5) is blocked by Virginia forward Mamadi Diakite (25) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016. Virginia won 63-52. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)
Gary McCullough/AP

NICEVILLE, Fla. (AP) London Perrantes and Darius Thompson scored 11 points each and No. 7 Virginia beat Providence 63-52 to win the Emerald Coast Classic on Saturday night.

Virginia (6-0) entered the game leading the nation in scoring defense, giving up only 39.2 points per game. Providence (4-2) topped the season-high 51 that UNC Greensboro scored against the Cavaliers, but had trouble penetrating the tight defense that denies post touches and forces contested jumpers.

Mamadi Diakite added 10 points for Virginia.

Jalen Lindsey led Providence with 18 points. Rodney Bullock added 16, but that was short of his 20.4 average.BIG PICTURE

Virginia: Bolstered by strong performances from bench players Marial Shayok, the team scoring leader averaging 11.2 points going into Saturday's game, and freshman Kyle Guy, the Cavaliers have shown little affect from the graduation of four players from last season's 29-win team.

Providence: Losing to a highly touted Virginia team does nothing to take the luster off a strong early season showing. That includes a dramatic come-from-behind 60-51 victory over previously undefeated Memphis in the Emerald Coast semifinals.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

After breezing through four relatively weak opponents to open the season, Virginia did the same in its first major challenge, beating the Big Ten's Iowa 74-41 in the semifinals Friday. Taking down Providence from the Big East can only enhance the Cavaliers' chances of moving up from their No. 7 ranking if any of the teams ahead of them stumble.

UP NEXT:

Providence: The Friars host New Hampshire on Wednesday.

Virginia: Host Ohio State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday.