CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP)—J.R. Reynolds and Sean Singletary know they are the keys to Virginia’s success. They also know the more help they get, the more the surprising Cavaliers will be expected to win regularly.
Reynolds scored 28 points, Singletary had 16 and several other players made key plays at both ends Tuesday night, leading Virginia past No. 11 Boston College 72-58.
“Everybody was feeling it tonight,” said freshman Mamadi Diane, who hit three of Virginia’s 12 3-pointers—including two in the second half when the Eagles tried to rally.
Having the confidence to take the shots has been difficult, he said, and something his teammates have implored him to do.
“Just getting those shots, it was basically like me alone in the gym,” he said.
Laurynas Mikalauskas, playing with a protective mask on his face after breaking his nose and sustaining a concussion against Florida State on Saturday, scored only four points, but got them on a pair of baby hooks to help sustain Virginia’s momentum.
He also helped contain the Eagles’ bruising front line. Virginia held Jared Dudley to six points, nearly 11 below his average, on 2-for-8 shooting from the field.
And Tunji Soroye avoided the foul trouble that so often plagues him and had six points, seven rebounds and two blocks, immeasurably aiding the defensive effort.
“The team’s growing up,” Reynolds said. “Maturity. Everybody’s just learning and listening and carrying out their assignments. The whole team made plays tonight.”
The Cavaliers took control early, getting 16 points from Reynolds in a 26-6 first-half run thast opened a 31-13 lead. The Eagles took a timeout and responded with nine straight points, but Virginia never let them closer than 10 the rest of the way.
“We were tougher than a tough team,” first-year Cavaliers coach Dave Leitao said.
Boston College shot 35 percent and had a five-game winning streak snapped.
The Cavaliers (14-10, 7-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 38-28 at halftime and never let the lead shrink below 10 in the second half. Every time the Eagles seemed to be starting a run, someone for the Cavaliers made a play to stem the tide.
Diane’s second 3-pointer gave Virginia a 53-38 lead, and the last made it 58-43 with 7:36 remaining. Singletary followed that one with one of his own, but said Reynolds was the key, starting with a deep 3-pointer he made during the first half.
“When he hit that, I knew he was going to be hot,” Singletary said.
Reynolds finished 9-for-15 from the field, 4-for-7 on 3-pointers.
The Eagles (21-6, 8-5) had only lost to No. 1 Duke in their last 11 games, but missed their first eight shots and didn’t match Virginia’s need to win.
“Right from the very beginning it was clear that Virginia wanted the game,” Boston College coach Al Skinner said. “We did not at all meet their energy. I thought the game was physical and we did not respond to that.”
Virginia finished 12-for-21 on 3-pointers and shot 52 percent overall.
Craig Smith led Boston College with 22 points and nine rebounds, and joined Danya Adams as the only Eagles players with 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds.
Tyrese Rice, a freshman who starred at L.C. Bird High School in Richmond, added 10 points for the Eagles, but did all his scoring in the first half.
The loss prevented Skinner from breaking a tie with Jim O’Brien for the career victories lead at the school. Each coached 168 victories.