Virginia beats Austin Peay, 93-49, in dominating fashion

Five Cavaliers finish with impressive double-digit scoring

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Redshirt freshman Jay Huff tallied five blocks and 16 points in his Cavalier debut.

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

After a season-opening win over UNC Greensboro Friday, the Virginia men’s basketball team had a quick turnaround with another home matchup against Austin Peay. The Cavaliers (2-0, 0-0 ACC) were looking for another win to begin gaining some momentum as nonconference play picks up in November. On the other hand, the Governors (0-2, 0-0 OVC) were looking to bounce back after a rough 73-54 loss to Vanderbilt in their season opener.

Virginia got exactly what it wanted, coming away with a dominating 93-49 win in what was a lopsided affair in front of a large Monday night crowd at John Paul Jones Arena.

The Cavaliers could not have gotten off to a better start, thoroughly outplaying the Governors in the first half, taking a 29-point lead into halftime with a score of 51-22. The upperclassmen — senior guard Devon Hall and senior forward Isaiah Wilkins — played well in the first 20 minutes of action, but it was youngsters sophomore guard Kyle Guy and redshirt freshman forward Jay Huff that starred.

In his first game at Virginia, Huff had an immediate impact, scoring in bunches right out of the gate and becoming a fan favorite throughout the contest. Every time he stood up to check into the game, the JPJ faithful roared.

“[Huff] is a humble kid, a humble young man … I was happy for him, I was thrilled,” Coach Tony Bennett said. “I love that.”

Both Guy and Huff reached double-digit scoring figures in the first half, with Guy totaling 10 and Huff collecting a team-high 13. Guy flashed an ability to not only shoot well from the perimeter, but also attack the rim and get to the foul line, shooting 3-3 from the charity stripe.

Huff’s first-half of action was a sparkling reminder of the potential the redshirt freshman possesses. He went 6-6, showcasing an arsenal of offensive moves that included shooting from deep, flashing skill in the post, connecting on a turnaround jumper and even getting a put-back dunk and put-back layup.

“[Huff] was great,” Hall said. “Shot it with confidence and I mean, to not play, and hop in a game and do that, you got to have some toughness with you, so I was really glad to see him do that.”

Redshirt freshman guard De’Andre Hunter also had a great night, finishing with 13 points.

The trio of Guy, Huff and Hunter played well and Bennett took notice.

“I think it was a good game for them … Very pleased and it was good to see them out there doing that, and that’s a weapon when [Huff] can step out and shoot the three like that and stretch it — puts pressure on the defense,” Bennett said.

“I love to see our young guys be able to get more opportunities and be successful when they’re doing it … It’s good to see those guys be able to, you know, get their confidence going,” Hall said.

Virginia freshman guard Marco Anthony also made his Cavalier debut in the first half, connecting on his only field goal for two points.

It was more of the same in the second half, with Virginia dominating on both the offense and defensive ends of the floor. At one point, the Cavaliers even had the lead up to 40 points. Guy continued his strong play, finishing with 14 points. Hall provided consistent play on the floor, scoring 11 points in the second half and finishing with a team-high 19 points.

On the defensive end, Huff displayed excellent shot-blocking ability, finishing with five blocks and 16 points overall.

With a sizeable lead in the second half, Bennett was able to give more minutes to some of Virginia’s more inexperienced players. At one point, the Cavaliers had a five-man unit on the court that did not include any of their starters in Hall, Wilkins, Guy, sophomore guard Ty Jerome or junior center Jack Salt.

Overall, Virginia had five players — Hall, Guy, Hunter, Huff and senior guard Nigel Johnson — finish with double-digit scoring figures.

It was an excellent effort from Virginia, and now they have three days off before traveling to Richmond to take on in-state rival VCU for a Friday afternoon matchup. The Cavaliers will look to remain undefeated and come away with a win before heading back home for a game against Monmouth next Sunday.  

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