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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Singletary wills Cavs over ‘Cats

    Virginia guard Sean Singletary bumps into Arizonas Nic Wise during the Wildcats 75-72 loss to the Cavaliers on Saturday night in McKale Center. The senior had 24 points in the game, leading all scorers.
    Virginia guard Sean Singletary bumps into Arizona’s Nic Wise during the Wildcats’ 75-72 loss to the Cavaliers on Saturday night in McKale Center. The senior had 24 points in the game, leading all scorers.

    As the buzzer sounded, Sean Singletary leapt into the air and threw the basketball over his head. His teammates on the Virginia men’s basketball team rushed onto the court in McKale Center to join the team captain in celebration after the Cavaliers beat No. 17 Arizona 75-72 before a sell-out crowd of 14,602 Saturday night.

    The win made up for the fact that the guard Singletary didn’t shoot particularly well while battling the flu, and that his team was able to overcome No. 17 Arizona (1-1) in the Wildcats’ first November home loss since 1978.

    “”They were really playing me physical, and my field-goal percentage shows that,”” said the All-American senior, who led all scorers with 24 points despite 31.6 percent shooting. “”I’ve never played against a defense that tough, ever.””

    With the teams tied at 69, UA guard Daniel Dillon, who started for the second time in his career and played a career-high 37 minutes, fouled Singletary with 1:22 left in the game. Singletary hit both free throws, making him 11-for-11 from the line.

    The Wildcats had opportunities down the stretch, but the Cavaliers (3-0) tacked on four more points and held on for the win.

    The Wildcats’ aggressive play – seemingly stemming from Singletary calling them “”soft”” last season, a comment he denied – led to 13 first-half turnovers that Virginia converted into 14 points.

    The Cavs ended up with 18 turnovers, one more than the Wildcats. With 3:39 left in the first half, UA guard Nic Wise tripped and fell coming downcourt. Singletary picked up the loose ball at halfcourt, but Wise stole it back from the floor, and the play led to a Jordan Hill dunk.

    “”We were just trying to play hard,”” said Hill, a forward, who scored 14 on 5-of-7 shooting. “”Virginia was saying we were soft and all that. Come on now, we’re not soft, we just had to show them tonight that we weren’t. They just got the win.””

    Coming into the second half down 42-31, the Wildcats went on a 21-6 run. The rally was concluded with a trey at the 13:25 mark by UA guard Jerryd Bayless, who led the team with 21 points, to give the Wildcats a 52-48 lead.

    Six seconds later, Virginia forward Jamil Tucker hit a 3 to bring the Cavs back within one, solidifying the fact that neither team could run away with the game.

    “”I think we did really well in the second half and picked up our defensive intensity,”” said UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill. “”… But we go up four, we’re so busy celebrating, and they go down and hit a 3 to cut it right back down to one. Those are things that are inexcusable.””

    Virginia started the game on a 15-6 run, using all 3s in the run. The Cavs sunk 9 of 13 shots from behind the arc in the half – with four coming from guard Jeff Jones – en route to 12 total treys.

    “”It’s really frustrating,”” Hill said. “”There were a lot of plays where they had wide open 3s and there were a lot of plays where we were all up in their faces and they were still making them.

    “”If we’re all in their faces and they still make it, we can’t do nothing about that,”” he added. “”They’re good shooters and we just couldn’t stop it.””

    And 1

    Former NBA All-Star Larry Johnson was in attendance to watch his nephew, Virginia freshman Mustapha Farrakhan. … Arizona is the highest-ranked opponent Virginia has beaten on the road in the two years Dave Leitao has been head coach. … With the usual pep band attending to UA Band Day festivities, the pep band consisted mainly of Arizona jazz band members not in the “”Pride of Arizona”” marching band.

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