Virginia pounds Albany in tourney opener
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) – J.R. Reynolds netted 28 points and grabbed
seven rebounds, as Virginia rolled past Albany, 84-57, in the first round of
the South Region of the NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena.
Sean Singletary added 23 points, dished out nine assists and pulled down six
rebounds for the fourth-seeded Cavaliers (21-10), who move on to play fifth-
seeded Tennessee on Sunday.
Mamadi Diane contributed 10 points and five boards for Virginia, which made
its first tournament appearance in six years.
“We got in the groove of things and got the game going,” Reynolds said. “We
just tried to make it tough on them. I think we made a great statement today.
We aren’t finished yet. We had to show everyone what we can do. This was a
good way to get started. We played great defense, which makes the offense come
Jamar Wilson poured in 25 points for the 13th-seeded Great Danes (23-10), who
earned an automatic bid to the tournament after capturing the America East
Tournament title for the second straight year.
Brent Wilson had 13 points while Jason Siggers added 11 in defeat.
“They played good defense but we struggled on offense,” said Albany’s Brian
Connelly. “Their defense combined with our bad offense wasn’t a good
combination. They hit a lot of early shots to give them confidence and we
couldn’t hit anything early on. It was tough to get out of that early hole.”
Virginia led comfortably from start to finish and was never seriously
threatened by Albany, which last year gave Connecticut all it could handle in
the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Cavaliers stormed out of the gate and opened the contest with a 19-2 surge
to take control early. Reynolds had eight points during the run while Jason
Cain donated four.
A three-pointer from Reynolds, followed by an easy layup off a steal, extended
Virginia’s lead to 31-11. The red-hot Reynolds started the contest a perfect
7-of-7 from the field.
Two free throws late in the first half by Reynolds gave the Cavaliers a 20-
point lead to take into the locker room, 45-25.
Reynolds was brilliant in the opening stanza with 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting
from the field. As a team, the Cavs shot an impressive 54 percent from the
Virginia started the second half much like the first, and rattled off a 15-5
run to up its lead to 60-30. Diane and Reynolds each drained shots from well
beyond the arc during the stretch.
Albany could only cut the deficit to 19 points the remainder of the contest.
This game marked the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the
hardwood…The Cavaliers improved to 22-15 all-time in the Big
Dance…Virginia shot 54 percent from the field for the game while Albany shot
just 38 percent…The Great Danes are now winless in two games all-time in the
NCAA Tournament. Albany dropped a 72-59 decision to UConn in last year’s