CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. – Virginia used its tested recipe of balanced scoring and stifling defense to take out South Carolina State in a 20-point victory that sets the table for a visit from George Washington.
The No. 9 Cavaliers were outscored 35-34 in the second half but placed four players in double figures to cruise to 3-0 on the season with a 75-55 drubbing of South Carolina State in front of 12,493 fans at John Paul Jones Arena on Tuesday.
Junior guards Malcolm Brogden and Justin Anderson paced the Cavaliers with 17 points apiece. Forward Anthony Gill added 11 points and eight rebounds while center Mike Tobey scored 10 points and pulled down five rebounds.
“The first half I thought we were solid, especially defensively,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. “A credit to South Carolina State, they played better in this game and they didn’t die they just kept battling.”
Anderson has scored 10-plus points in every game this season.
“He’s certainly shot the ball better so far,” Bennett said of his junior swingman. “They’ve been some good looks, feet set. I think all of our guys have improved and (Justin) really tried to develop a consistent shot and it certainly looks better. I hope it holds up.”
Virginia outrebounded the Bulldogs 46-26 and got 16 second-chance points off of 14 offensive rebounds.
South Carolina State didn’t go away in the second half, as guard Karon Wright knocked down four 3-pointers in less than five minutes to start the second half. Wright had only one field goal the rest of the way, however, and led the Bulldogs with 15 points.
“Our team improved tonight from our first two games,” South Carolina State head coach Murray Garvin said. “We competed for 40 minutes with the number nine team in the country. I can coach that and we can build off of that.”
Guard Gabe McCray added 12 points for the Bulldogs on 4-for-8 shooting.
“We don’t have any moral victories with our program,” Garvin said. “But the way our kids competed, I have to commend their effort.”
The Bulldogs (0-3) made eight shots from beyond the arc but shot just 33 percent for the game.
After a rash of early turnovers, the Bulldogs calmed down and turned the ball over just six times on the night. They turned 12 Virginia turnovers into 15 points on the other end.
Virginia’s largest lead came with 6:10 to play when it led by 28 points before coasting to the 20-point win.
“I wish we could have separated a little more in the second half,” Bennett said. “But we will learn from that.”
The Cavaliers jumped out to a 6-0 lead three minutes into the game.
Guard Greg Mortimer’s layup with 12:27 to play in the first half cut the Virginia lead to 14-11.
Virginia started to flex its muscles, however, as it used a 14-0 run to take a 33-14 lead with 3:41 to play. South Carolina State turned the ball over four times in the first half and shot just 23 percent.
The Cavaliers led 41-20 at the half.
Brogdon led all scorers at the break with 10 points on four of six shooting. Anderson added eight points and Gill chipped in with seven points and six rebounds.
The Bulldogs got the bulk of their first-half points from the charity stripe where they made nine of their 11 attempts.
Mortimer led South Carolina State with six points in the first half.
NOTES: Virginia defeated South Carolina State 75-38 in the two teams’ only previous meeting during the 2011-12 season. … South Carolina State will play 19 of their 31 regular-season games on the road in 2014-15. … The Bulldogs’ leading returning scorer is G Jalen White, who averaged 7.2 points per game last season… The Cavaliers improved to 52-4 when scoring at least 70 points under Tony Bennett… Virginia hosts George Washington Friday night while South Carolina State will host Columbia International next Tuesday.
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