UVA Insider: Cavs find ways to win
Virginia avoided putting itself in an early hole in the ACC race by surviving against Miami in its opener.
Escaping with the 52-51 win over the Hurricanes, who missed a last shot at getting the victory, was key for the Cavaliers' early fortunes with a trip to Duke coming up.
"Every conference game is going to be a battle and you want to try desperately to protect home court," coach Tony Bennett said. "Certainly, you want to get them on the road and steal them on the road, but you have to try to hold serve at home."
The Cavaliers overcame a slow start and avoided a late collapse by dominating the game in the middle.
After falling behind 10-4 in the opening minutes, they outscored the visitors 29-14 and appeared ready to blow the game open until the Hurricanes began chipping away.
The Cavaliers then came up with enough stops down the stretch to preserve the win.
"I felt like this was an important game," Bennett said. "This Miami team is capable. I thought for us not to play our best and still find a way was very important.
"Now we play a very powerful team on the road in Duke. We'll take one at a time."
--Senior F Mike Scott pretty much carried the load of the offense for Virginia in the win over Miami. He was 9-of-20 from the field and scored 23 points. His teammates were 12-of-35 shooting, and not one reached double figures.
It's the first time this season the Cavaliers have failed to have at least two players in double digits.
"I hope that we're not going to be that cold with our other guys," coach Tony Bennett said. "That was the thing. We just couldn't get a lot of action."
--Virginia started 14-1 for the first time since the 1981-82 season, and its 12-game winning streak at that point was the longest for the Cavaliers since that same season. They also have won their last 10 home games.
--Miami was only 6-of-25 from the field (24.0 percent) and scored only 17 points in the first half, the sixth time this season the Cavaliers have held an opponent to under 20 points in a half.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 -- The Cavaliers have won their ACC opener for four consecutive seasons.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
--at Duke, Jan. 12
KEY MATCHUPS: F Mike Scott and C Assane Sene will have to try to neutralize Duke's Mason and Miles Plumlee inside to allow the Cavaliers to take advantage of their backcourt scoring. Sophomore F Akil Mitchell could be a factor in giving the Cavaliers help off the bench.
FUTURES MARKET: Virginia has used the same starting lineup for 10 consecutive games, and there doesn't appear any chance of a change coming any time soon. Three starters (G Sammy Zeglinski, F Mike Scott, and G Jontel Evans) logged at least 30 minutes against Miami, and a fourth (G Joe Harris) played 29. C Assane Sene played 24. Freshman G Malcolm Brogdon played 21 off the bench, F Akil Mitchell 15.
Senior F Mike Scott scored 23 points against Miami, the 64th time in his career he had been in double figures and 10th time he had at least 20. He had 12 points in the win at LSU earlier in the week.
Sophomore G Joe Harris was only 1-of-5 from the field for three points against Miami, ending his streak of double-digit performances at eight in a row. He was coming off a 14-point game in the win over LSU.
Senior G Sammy Zeglinski had scored 37 points in the previous two games, but was only 2-of-8 from the field for six points against Miami.