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Virginia 69, Hampton 40

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Last season, the Virginia Cavaliers' home loss to the Delaware Pirates in the Preseason NIT cost them a chance to play at Madison Square Garden and strengthen their tournament resume come March.

In Tuesday night's game against Hampton, in the second round of the Corpus Christi Challenge, the result didn't matter, as the Cavaliers would be off to Texas this weekend no matter what, to play much-needed resume-boosting games.

Virginia used a 38-5 run that spanned more than 12 minutes to cruise to a 69-40 win over the Pirates at John Paul Jones Arena in front of a crowd of 8,970.

"Once we settled in we were better," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said of the win. "It's now time to embrace better competition and see where we stand."

Guard Joe Harris made his 200th career 3-pointer and scored a game-high 20 points in the win. Harris was 7-for-7 from the field and 4-for-4 from deep.

"He had great rhythm and was letting it fly," Bennett said. "He moved hard without the ball and it seems like he's getting his timing back."

The Cavaliers (5-1) connected on eight of their 12 three-point attempts on the night. Virginia came into the game shooting just 28 percent from beyond the arc for the season.

"I don't think we're a lights out shooting team," Bennett said. "If we're sharing the ball, then I think we take good shots. We can be solid, but we can't live and die by the three."

Continuing a season-long trend, Virginia dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Pirates 42-21. The Cavaliers also recorded assists on 17 of their 24 field goals. Virginia shot 51 percent from the field, while Hampton struggled on offense, shooting just 32 percent.

"They (Virginia) are a heck of a defensive team," Hampton coach Edward Joyner said. "Everybody knows about the pack-line defense. I think that just as much as that happened, I felt like we lost our legs."

The Pirates (2-4) were held to just one field goal during a 17-minute portion of the game.

Hampton came into the game averaging 71 points per game but was stifled by a Virginia defense, which ranks second nationally, allowing 50.4 points per game.

After closing the first half strong, Virginia continued its run in the second half, scoring the first 10 points after the break.

Hampton was led by guard Dwight Meikle, who scored 12 points. He was the lone Pirate in double figures.

Cavaliers guard Justin Anderson scored 12 points and pulled down four rebounds. Five players recorded four or more rebounds for Virginia.

Virginia used a 24-2 run spanning the final 9:59 of the first half to take a 40-19 lead after 20 minutes. The Cavaliers shot 50 percent from the field in the opening half while holding Hampton to 34 percent.

"We have to get our rest," Joyner said. "We gave it all we had there early and then I think we bottomed out, and that had something to do with us not having our legs. I think that was the lesson our guys learned, they played hard."

Harris scored 15 first-half points to lead Virginia, while guard Deron Powers and forward Emmanuel Okoroba led Hampton with six points apiece.

Hampton tied the game at 16 midway through the first half before Virginia gained control behind 14 points from Harris and Anderson during their 22-point run.

Anderson scored nine points and pulled down two rebounds in the first half.

Hampton committed 12 turnovers before the break and was out-rebounded 20-12 by the Cavaliers.

"Nothing to take away from the way we have been playing, but we are excited to see some higher-level teams," Harris said of their trip to Corpus Christie. "We will definitely see that in Texas and from here on out. Larry Brown coaches SMU, so we know they will be really well-coached."

NOTES: Virginia defeated Hampton 80-54 the last time the two teams met in 2009. ... Both teams will play in the Corpus Christie Challenge on Friday. Hampton faces Liberty, while Virginia takes on SMU. ... After winning 24 games during the 2010-11 season, Hampton won a combined 26 games the next two seasons... Virginia freshman PG London Perrantes committed just five turnovers in his first six games, including none Tuesday in 20 scoreless minutes... Virginia freshman walk-on Jeff Jones, son of former Cavalier coach Jeff Jones, scored his first career points in Tuesday's win.
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