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Virginia 76, William & Mary 52: Three up, three down

By Steve Yanda

As far as introductions go, Billy Baron and the most of the rest of the Virginia freshmen did a pretty nice job Friday night. In addition to helping the Cavaliers earn a 24-point victory over a team that made a habit of beating ACC teams on the road last season, the freshmen made quite an impression on William & Mary Coach Tony Shaver.

"Our freshmen played like freshmen," Shaver said. "It’s a tough environment for them to get their feet wet in college basketball. Their freshmen played like upperclassmen, I think."

Baron made 5 of 6 three-point attempts and finished with a game-high 19 points. K.T. Harrell tallied 13 points. Joe Harris turned in a solid performance, as well, though he became limited due to foul trouble.

Coach Tony Bennett knows full-well that not all of Virginia's games over the next two months won't go as smoothly as did tonight's, but it was -- at the very least -- a promising start for a group of players charged with forming the core of Bennett's rebuilding project.

Three Up:

1) Billy Baron. During one stretch in the middle of the second half, Baron scored 13 points for Virginia during a 19-3 Cavaliers run. Bennett has said this fall that at times Baron can get too sped up. While that may be true, it didn't seem to be the case tonight. It helped that William & Mary isn't a pressing team, but the performance was impressive nonetheless.

2) Mike Scott. He vowed this fall to be more well-rounded and less selfish. Well, one game down, 30-some more games to go. But Scott took the first step Friday night in living up to his promises. He shot 7 for 13 from the floor, scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. He knows that his reputation is as a player who performs well in non-conference play before disappearing during the ACC slate. But he won't have an opportunity to correct that trend for awhile.

3) Jontel Evans. The team's lone sophomore will be asked to run the point a lot over at least the next month and a half while junior Sammy Zeglinski rehabs his surgically-repaired knee. Evans's performance against William & Mary was favorable. He made 3 of 4 shots from the field and tallied seven assists to just one turnover. Again, the Tribe didn't apply a whole lot of pressure, but that's still an impressive ratio.

Three Down:

1) Interior defense. William & Mary stayed in contention as long as it did by funneling the ball into the post and getting off close-range shots. Tribe forward Marcus Kitts came off the bench to score 10 points. Their guards found success driving into the lane and even posting up on occassion. The Cavaliers didn't pay a severe price for this deficiency tonight, but against an opponent with more size and interior skill, this could be a serious issue.

2) Assane Sene. He started, but he played just 11 minutes. He was a liability on defense, and not all that much helpful on offense. Virginia coaches have worked with Sene to develop his coordination, but it appears there's still considerable work to be done. The seven-footer finished with two points and two rebounds.

3) Slow start. As Mike Scott said, everyone gets jitters on opening night. Fair enough, so long as it doesn't become a trend. The Cavaliers shot 39.3 percent from the field in the first half before connecting on 60.7 percent of their shots after halftime.

By Steve Yanda  | November 12, 2010; 11:05 PM ET
Categories:  Men's Basketball  
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Next: Live from Scott Stadium: Virginia vs. Maryland

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