CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- A strong defensive effort led Virginia to a 63-44 win over Lamar on Monday in the consolation round of the pre-season NIT. The Cavaliers held their opponent to fewer than 50 points for the second consecutive game. Virginia (3-2) has not allowed 60 or more points in a game this season. Virginia led by as many as 24 points before settling for the final 19-point margin. Lamar (0-4) made just 32.6 percent of its shots from the floor. Cavaliers guard Joe Harris scored in double figures for the fourth consecutive game, finishing with a game-high 17 points. The junior added five rebounds and three steals. Virginia forward Akil Mitchell contributed 10 points and eight rebounds on the night. Cavaliers guard Teven Jones, making his first start, finished with six points, two assists and just one turnover. The freshman was forced to sit with three personal fouls early in the second half. Jones started at point guard in place of injured senior Jontel Evans, who did not dress for the second consecutive game. Senior Stan Brown led the Cardinals with 11 points, and he shared the team high with six rebounds. Brown is the only returning starter from last year's Southland Conference championship team. Fellow senior Nikko Acosta finished with 10 points off the bench for Lamar. Turnovers continued to plague Lamar. The Cardinals gave the game away 14 times, compared to nine giveaways for Virginia. Lamar came into the game averaging twice as many turnovers as its opponents. Harris led the Virginia with 10 first-half points, and he was the only player for either team to reach double figures before the break. Virginia took control of the game early thanks to a 13-4 run. Guard Paul Jesperson went 3-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc during the streak. The sophomore from Merrill, Wis., surpassed his previous career high of seven points in the first half alone, and he wound up with nine points. The Cavaliers shot 41.9 percent in the first half and led 32-18 at intermission. NOTES: Virginia and Lamar met for the first time. ... Monday's game marked the third leg of an 11-game stretch in which Lamar will play away from home. The Cardinals dropped their first two games of the season in the NIT tip-off round in Manhattan, Kan. Lamar lost to host Kansas State and to North Texas. ... Lamar will face IUPUI at 4:30 p.m. EST Tuesday in Charlottesville, while Virginia will play North Texas at 7 p.m.
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