CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Justin Anderson scored a game-high 16 points as Virginia overcame a sloppy effort to slip by Northern Iowa, 57-43, on Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena.
Joe Harris complemented Anderson with 12 points and seven rebounds.
The Cavaliers got the victory despite shooting 37.7 percent from the field, including 7-of-26 from beyond the 3-point arc. Virginia also made only 10-of-18 free throws.
Virginia (8-3) opened the second half strong and opened up its biggest lead of the game of 13 points at the 14:14 mark. Northern Iowa would hang around, but was never able to close the gap to less than seven as the Cavaliers' defense stifled the Panthers.
Northern Iowa shot only 31.7 percent from the field, including 2-of-19 from beyond the arc.
Seth Tuttle led the way for the Panthers with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Wes Washpun added nine points for Northern Iowa.
Virginia recorded eight blocked shots, which included two monster rejections by Anderson in the second half that ignited the Cavaliers' home crowd.
That momentum translated into the Panthers never being able to get back into the game after falling behind early in the second half.
Both teams were cold out of the gate, as they combined for only four points by the first media timeout.
Virginia would use an 11-2 run, which included back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers, to take a 19-9 lead with 4:43 to play in the first half.
Northern Iowa (5-6) would respond with a 7-0 run to make it 19-16 before the Cavaliers led, 21-16, at halftime.
Neither team cracked the 30 percent mark for the first half, as the Cavaliers shot 29.6 percent and the Panthers made only 25.9 percent of their shots.
Anderson led all scorers in the first half with seven points for Virginia. Washpun scored five points for Northern Iowa.
NOTES: This was the first ever game between the teams. ... Virginia coach Tony Bennett, who played at Wisconsin-Green Bay, has compiled a 7-1 record against Northern Iowa during his career. ... The Panthers had won two straight games, including a 77-68 win over Virginia Commonwealth, which beat Virginia earlier this season. ... Paul Jesperson, who transferred from Virginia to Northern Iowa after last season, is on the Panthers' roster but is sitting out this season due to the NCAA transfer rule.