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Posted at 11:42 PM ET, 11/24/2010

Wichita State 70, Virginia 58: Three up, three down

By Steve Yanda

Virginia saw today the type of team its coach would like for the Cavaliers to one day become. Wichita State did not possess a star player who absolutely tore up Virginia's defense. Rather, the Shockers utilized their experience and impressive depth to eat away at the Cavaliers' confidence steadily.

When Virginia got out to a 16-2 lead Tuesday against Oklahoma, pretty much everyone in the building could foresee the immediate future: The Sooners were going to fold, and the Cavaliers were going to cruise to victory.

When Virginia got out to an 18-2 lead Wednesday, the prevailing sentiment was much different. Even at the outset, Wichita State was firing up helpless shots out of haphazard offensive sets. Certainly, Virginia was doing a good job of making the Shockers earn their shots and forcing them into commiting a handful of turnovers. But -- unlike Oklahoma -- Wichita State didn't look lost.

That, obviously, aided the Shockers' comeback efforts. Virginia did not respond well initially when Wichita State implemented a full-court press. And in the second half, Virginia Coach Tony Bennett said, the Cavaliers faded. Virginia lost, 70-58.

"Whenever you make a run like that on a good team, you know they’re going to make their runs and comeback," Bennett said. "They just kept the course. And when we get … jumped or punched in the face trying to right the ship or steady it is new for us."

Three Up:

1) Mike Scott. The senior forward put forward his second consecutive complete outing. He tallied 16 points and was the only consistent presence for the Cavaliers on the boards. Scott tallied 10 rebounds. No other Virginia player recorded more than five. Only one other Virginia player recorded more than four.

2) Will Sherrill. That one other Virginia player who tallied more than four rebounds? That was Sherrill. The senior forward also registered 11 points and made 3 of 4 shots from beyond the arc. Sherrill made three-pointers on consecutive possessions in the second half to cut Virginia's deficit to one. But that was as close as the Cavaliers would come.

3) First seven minutes. As was previously mentioned, Virginia got out to a great start on both ends of the court. The Cavaliers opened the contest with an 18-2 run and pestered Wichita State on defense. The Shockers went 6 minutes, 22 seconds in between their first and second made baskets.

Three Down:

1) Responding to pressure defense. The Cavaliers were better at it tonight than they were two days ago against Washington (though, to be fair, it would have been difficult to be worse at it than they were against the Huskies). But Wichita State's comeback run was ignited by the mistakes its full-court press forced Virginia into making. Shockers Coach Gregg Marshall said the effect of his team's pressure wasn't manifested in a high number of Virginia turnovers. Rather, he said, the pressure wore on the Cavaliers as the game progressed. Virginia shot 56.5 percent from the field in the first half and 32.1 percent from the field in the second.

2) Bench production. Junior center Assane Sene was the only Virginia reserve to score Wednesday. Wichita State's reserves outscored Virginia's, 28-2. Reserve guard Mustapha Farrakhan took one shot and tallied no points, four personal fouls and three turnovers. Reserve guard Billy Baron missed all three of his shots.

3) Final 13 minutes of the first half. After missing 6 of its first 8 shots, Wichita State made 8 of its next 9 Wednesday night. The Shockers answered Virginia's 18-2 run with a 22-6 run of their own. The Cavaliers became less compact on defense, less aggressive on the boards and more unsettled in transition. Virginia trailed by four at halftime.

By Steve Yanda  | November 24, 2010; 11:42 PM ET
Categories:  Men's Basketball  
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