7:00 PM ET, January 19, 2006
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Little by little, Virginia's players are understanding more and more of coach Dave Leitao's teachings, and it's starting to show."Good things are happening," guard J.R. Reynolds said.Reynolds was one of those good things Thursday night, scoring 10 of his 16 points in the last 11 minutes when the surprising Cavaliers used a big run to go ahead for good and then held on to beat equally young North Carolina (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today; No. 24 AP), 72-68."It's a learning process, and we're getting better each day," Reynolds said.Guard Sean Singletary, whose first season came in the difficult last season under Pete Gillen, agreed and said things should only continue to get better."We're buying into what he's saying," Singletary said. "He's been preaching to us since he first stepped foot in Charlottesville. It feels like everybody is really responding to what he's saying. When it comes game time, it's really showing."The victory was the second in a row for the Cavaliers (9-6, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), following up a 54-49 win at Virginia Tech on Sunday.The results, Leitao said, show the team that he knows what he's doing when insisting they play tough defense, take care of the ball and play with discipline."I can talk until I'm blue in the face, but these proving points happen, fortunately or unfortunately, when you win or lose games," he said.North Carolina (10-4, 2-2) lost its second straight. The Tar Heels were stunned 81-70 at home by Miami on Saturday, ending a four-game winning streak, and were stymied by Virginia's interior defense on Tyler Hansbrough and 36 percent shooting."Their guards just dominated the game," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.Singletary led Virginia with 18 points, but had only two down the stretch when Reynolds, freshman Laurynas Mikalauskas and Jason Cain all made big plays.Mikalauskas twice scored on putbacks and grabbed several key rebounds, and Cain finished with just seven points and five rebounds, but added five blocks, several in the final minutes as the Tar Heels tried to get the ball inside to Hansbrough."Today just showed what we can do when everybody's playing well," Cain said.Hansbrough led North Carolina with 18 points and 10 rebounds and David Noel had 14 and 10 rebounds, but they also combined to commit 10 of the Tar Heels' 14 turnovers.Singletary had eight points in a 13-2 run that gave Virginia the lead 5½ minutes into the second half. The burst grew to 26-10 over 9 minutes, giving the Cavaliers a 55-46 edge with 8:29 to play, and from then it was a matter of staying in front.The Tar Heels helped with their inability to hit outside shots."You can hope and pray and hold your mouth different ways," Williams said, "but the bottom line is you've got to put the ball in the basket."North Carolina closed to within 64-61 on two free throws by Reyshawn Terry with 2:51 left, but Singletary answered with two of his own and Reynolds followed a Tar Heels turnover by adding two more foul shots to rebuild the margin to 68-61.Virginia was 23-for-29 at the line to just 10-for-14 for North Carolina.The defending national champions opened the second half with a 7-2 run, extending its burst to 22-5 spanning the halves, and seemed ready to take control.But Singletary's three-point play sparked a 13-2 rally for the Cavaliers, giving them a 42-38 lead. North Carolina pulled even twice, the last at 44 with 11:09 left, before Reynolds' 3-pointer started an 11-2 run that gave Virginia a 55-46 lead.North Carolina never quite caught back up.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||25-69 (.362)||22-58 (.379)|
|3P Made-Attempted||8-26 (.308)||5-19 (.263)|
|FT Made-Attempted||10-14 (.714)||23-29 (.793)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||17 (0/0)|