CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Virginia took control of a close game early in the second half to defeat Green Bay 67-51 at home Saturday afternoon.
Virginia (6-2) has won five consecutive games while Green Bay (3-4) has lost four in a row.
Virginia used an 11-0 run early in the second half to create some separation. Green Bay had cut the lead to 40-36 on Kam Cerroni's free throw with 15:27 to play. The Cavaliers then proceeded to score on their next five possessions, opening the run with a 3-pointer from Paul Jesperson and ending it with a dunk from Akil Mitchell with 12:22 to go.
"I thought we were more patient in the second half," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "The ball swung top side. We got it inside. We had a mismatch. Akil was terrific inside with his moves and his quickness."
The Cavaliers shot 50 percent (26-of-52) from the field, and the Phoenix shot just 34 percent (18-of-53).
"In the second half, they jumped on us," Green Bay coach Brian Wardle said. "They locked in defensively. We struggled to score. Then, we let it affect how we guarded. All week, we worked on discipline for 200 minutes, sustaining it for the whole shot clock defensively. We just broke down all over the place, led by our upperclassmen."
Mitchell led Virginia with a career-high 20 points, surpassing his previous career high of 15 against Delaware on Nov. 13. The Cavaliers also got 20 points from leading scorer Joe Harris.
There was some concern in Charlottesville as to how the Cavaliers would replace first-team All-ACC selection Mike Scott down low, but Mitchell and teammate Darion Atkins have shown they can be consistent threats on the offensive end.
Mitchell has scored in double figures in seven of Virginia's eight games. Atkins scored seven points, had a team-high 11 rebounds and tied a career high with four blocks.
"They're quick," Bennett said of his post players. "(Defensively), they can show on ball screens, and they can get back. That quickness is important. They're not the bulkiest of guys, but they can use their feet and their position to be effective. I like what I'm seeing."
Virginia had 20 assists on 26 made field goals. Senior point guard Jontel Evans logged a season-high 23 minutes in his second full game back from an offseason foot injury. He finished with two points, seven assists, five steals and two turnovers.
"It's so good having him back," Mitchell said. "He can create so many mismatches with his quickness. He's a defensive stopper. He can lock guards down, his passing ability -- just the little things that you miss with a senior point guard. Getting him back is crucial for this team."
Green Bay was led by 7-foot-1 center Alec Brown, who had 14 points despite being plagued by foul trouble the majority of the game. Brown had two fouls in the first half and picked up his fourth foul with 13:06 to play.
"We need more, we need better from Alec Brown," Wardle said. "He was solid, but he's got to play tougher. He's got to play stronger. I thought some of his defensive stances in the post, he was too straight up and down. Those guys buried him because the low man wins in the post. Then he was a little too tentative sometimes with the ball on offense."
Sophomore point guard Keifer Sykes, the leading scorer for the Phoenix, had 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Virginia led 31-27 during a tightly contested first half. There were five ties and six lead changes, and neither team led by more than five points. The Cavaliers were 11-for-27 from the field (40.7 percent) while the Phoenix were 10-for-27 (37 percent).
Harris had nine points to lead the Cavaliers in the opening period, making all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. Virginia made 5 of 8 3-point attempts.
NOTES: This was the second meeting between the schools. Virginia beat Green Bay 68-42 in Charlottesville on Nov. 25, 2011. ... Bennett starred at Green Bay from 1988 to 1992 under father Dick Bennett. Bennett finished his career with 2,285 points and is still the program's all-time scoring leader.