Virginia overcomes slow start, defeats Northern Iowa
The Virginia men’s basketball team snapped a two-game skid Saturday afternoon, overcoming a sluggish first half at John Paul Jones Arena to defeat Northern Iowa, 57-43.
The Cavaliers (8-3) led the Panthers (5-6) 21-16 entering the break, the fewest first-half points in a Virginia game since combining with Virginia Tech for 33 in 1992. Sophomore guard Justin Anderson scored nine of his game-high 16 points in the second half, while senior guard Joe Harris added 10 to pull away after halftime. Junior forward Seth Tuttle led Northern Iowa with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while junior guard and leading-scorer Deon Mitchell was held to eight points and turned the ball over a game-high five times.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett played a four-guard lineup for much of the game, with Anderson, Harris, redshirt sophomore Malcolm Brogdon and freshman London Perrantes each playing at least 32 minutes. Sophomore forwards Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill were noticeably absent for much of the game, playing just five and eight minutes, respectively. The pair combined for four rebounds and one block while being held scoreless.
Junior forward Darion Atkins made his first start of the season, notching eight points, five rebounds, and making his presence felt early in the post. He put back his own miss to put the Cavaliers on the board first and recorded three of his career-best five blocks in the first 4:13 of the game. Atkins’ five blocks also tied Virginia’s JPJ record.
Virginia will return to the court Monday, Dec. 23 to host Norfolk State. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.