The Virginia Cavaliers in just a few words, "persevered and held on," in a win over the Auburn Tigers 89-87 Friday night in Richmond. That's what Kevin Moore had to say concerning the Hoos as we watched the game unfold. Moore, a huge Arkansas Razorback fan, is in no way shape or form a UVA fan but found the ACC-SEC matchup interesting. "UVA was on fire early and then Auburn fired right back with some great shooting of their own. UVA did a good job of not getting down on themselves and gutting that one out. Douglas and Singletary definitely will be stars for their teams over the next four years."
That being said this game saw some of the best shooting hands down in recent years concerning UVA hoops. The Hoos and Tigers were equally strong on the evening as Auburn shot at a 52% for the game and the Hoos 53%. Senior Devin Smith got it going early scoring 13 points in the first 20 minutes of action while teammate Sean Singletary added 10 in the first half as well. The Hoos started the game with 11 unanswered points as Auburn struggled to find their range during the first four minutes of the game. The beginnings of a blowout? The Tigers would have none of it as it would soon change as the vaunted Tiger perimeter shooters found their stroke and would outscore the Hoos 41-21 during the last 15 minutes of the first half on their way to a 44-38 halftime lead.
Auburn freshmanToney Douglas scored 19 points in the first half and picked up where he left off in the second half as he displayed some incredible shooting skill going for a total of 33 points on the night while adding 6 rebounds. Virginia's own freshman guard, Singletary, looked impressive as well as he appeared to be more offensive minded scoring 15 points in the second half. Singletary would finish the night with 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots.
Elton Brown had another stellar performance with 17 points and 4 rebounds on the night but arguably wasn't used as much as many would have thought considering the Tigers starting center stands 6'6. Devin Smith ended with 23 points and 8 rebounds on the night as he continues to impress playing injury free this year. Sophomore J.R. Reynolds was instrumental in the win as well as he scored 12 points and handed out a team high 5 assists.
This year's squad with a strengthened out of conference schedule has stood up during their early season tests. The schedule has in years past been a detriment many feel to the Hoos chances of getting into the NCAA tourney but this year it will undeniably be a positive aspect as the team looks forward to a chance at dancing this year.
Our UVAInsider.com player of the game award ended in a tie for the Auburn game. Senior Devin Smith and freshman Sean Singletary both share the award after putting on an outstanding display leading the Hoos to a tough out of conference victory.
Notes of Interest:
-The game marked the second 30+ point game this year for Auburn's Toney Douglas
-UVA committed only 8 turnovers on the night
-Gillen and staff appeared to right the ship after the Hoos got sloppy after building an early lead and then losing it late in the first half
-UVA plays only 8 total players again as it was yet another close game