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Posted at 9:34 AM ET, 12/ 3/2010

Virginia looks to build off newfound poise demonstrated at Minnesota

By Steve Yanda

With just more than 11 minutes remaining in regulation Monday night at Minnesota, Virginia freshman guard Joe Harris hit a jump shot to push the Cavaliers into the lead for the first time since very early in the first half. It was at that point in the game -- with 10-12 minutes to play -- that Virginia began to lose steam against Stanford and Wichita State. The Cavaliers lost to Stanford by 21 and to Wichita State by 12.

Virginia also fell further apart during that stage of its 43-point loss to Washington, though one could argue that by 10-12 minute mark of the second half of that contest, all hope already had long been lost.

But against the Golden Gophers, Virginia only got stronger as the home stretch of the game neared. The Cavaliers, who had trailed by as many as 13 in the second half Monday, expanded their lead to as many as 14 points and ended up claiming an 87-79 victory.

It helped Virginia's cause, Coach Tony Bennett said, that the Cavaliers shot 47.3 percent from the field and 76.9 (10 for 13) from three-point range. Still, Bennett thought his players displayed more poise and patience on the offensive end during the latter stages of the win over Minnesota than they had against Stanford and Wichita State.

"That was encouraging to see, and that should be motivation or confidence for them, like, when we do the right things we have a right to compete against good teams wherever it is, home or away," Bennett said. "So that's what I want them to take away from it is the right mind-set. But Washington sure exposed us and taught us a valuable lesson. They got us so sped up and so rushed, and we don't have the firepower to just, 'Hey, we're just going to quick-shoot. We're going to come down and we're not going to worry about it if we get into a wild game.' We needed to understand that through the course of the game.

"Again, that's a discipline that needs to be built. But they did that in a tough setting where they hung in there and then they made their free throws. So I hope that that is something that will continue. Whether the shots are going down or not, they have to realize that against good defenses, you can't break down one side and just get a good shot. There's the occassional, if you have a room-and-rhythm shot or we have something in transition, absolutely. But there is a level of poise and patience that needs to be there, especially as the game is winding down."

By Steve Yanda  | December 3, 2010; 9:34 AM ET
Categories:  Men's Basketball  
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