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Virginia’s 45 points more than enough to win

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Virginia coach Tony Bennett joked after the Cavaliers’ 45-26 victory over Rutgers on Saturday night that they needed to repay the Barclays Center for paint that they had chipped off of the rims from missed shots.

Fortunately for Bennett and his eighth-ranked Cavaliers, the only thing that needed to be done was to collect a trophy at center court.

Despite shooting just 32 percent from the field for the game, Virginia used a late surge to cruise past Rutgers to capture the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Our guys kept battling,” Bennett said. “I told them just to be as physical as you can and grind through it. Be as close to great defensively as you can when the offense is that bad.”

The Cavaliers outscored the Scarlet Knights (3-3) 28-8 in the second half, using their suffocating defense to post the 19-point win and move to 7-0 on the season.

Guard Justin Anderson and forward Anthony Gill led the way with a game-high 13 points apiece. Gill added five rebounds and was awarded the tournament MVP.

“We just wanted to come out and play our game in the second half,” Gill said. “We wanted to get our defense established and that is what we did. We changed our mindset and came out in the second half and did what we do best.”

Rutgers did not have a player score in double figures as they were led by forward Kadeem Jack, who had eight points. The Scarlet Knights shot 25 percent from the field for the game and were 0 of 13 from the 3-point line.

After Jack hit a jumper to tie the score at 22 with 17:59 left, the Cavaliers outscored Rutgers 23-4 the rest of the way. The Scarlet Knights did not score for the final 6:21.

The 26 points allowed by Virginia were the fewest by an opponent during the shot clock era.

“You have to win in different ways,” Bennett said. “You just find ways. It’s about intangibles in games like that and our guys didn’t back down. It’s sometimes good to see your team struggle and see how they respond.”

Virginia outrebounded Rutgers 43-32 and committed only seven turnovers. The Scarlet Knights turned the ball over 12 times.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half as Rutgers led Virginia 18-17 after 20 minutes.

After trailing 11-3 early, the Scarlet Knights used a 15-4 run to claim the halftime advantage. Rutgers shot just 36 percent from the field in the half but limited the Cavaliers to 28 percent from the field.

Anderson led Virginia in the first half with eight points and four rebounds.

Rutgers was led by guard Myles Mack, Jack and center Greg Lewis, who scored four points apiece. Lewis had four blocks on the defensive end.

Virginia led by eight points with 12:35 to play on guard Mariol Shayok’s 3-pointer but was then held scoreless for more than six minutes as the Cavaliers struggled to get anything going offensively.

NOTES: Virginia F Anthony Gill posted his first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds in Friday night’s win over La Salle. … Rutgers was playing its second of three games in four nights. … Virginia will face Maryland on Wednesday night in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. … Rutgers will travel to play Clemson on Monday night, also in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. … Rutgers played without G Bishop Daniels, who suffered an ankle injury Friday against Vanderbilt.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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