By Tim Bennett, Yale Athletics
Virginia may very well be the best defensive team in the nation. Yale will certainly vouch for the Cavaliers. UVA, ranked seventh in the nation, held the Bulldogs to 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 38 points in a very impressive 62-38 victory before a fired up crowd of 14,242 at John Paul Jones Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The Bulldogs left following the game for Pittsburgh where they will meet the University of Pittsburgh, another ACC foe, on Tuesday night.
Blake Reynolds, a sophomore, was the only Bulldog to reach double figures in scoring, finishing with 10 points Alex Copeland, a non-starter, added eight.
“They did a great job limiting our opportunities,” said Yale coach James Jones.
It was Virginia’s bench that did much of the damage on the offensive end. Marial Shayok scored 15 points, and Kyle Guy had 12. In all, UVa’s reserves contributed 34 points.
The Cavaliers (3-0) also dominated on the glass, something that rarely happens to Yale. UVa had a 41-28 rebounding edge. Sixteen of those boards came at the offensive end, which led to 15 second-chance points.
“What they did to us is usually our recipe for success,” Jones said. Yale suffered its first loss after opening the season with impressive wins over Univ. of Washington and Lehigh.
Yale kept the game close for the first 25 minutes. The Bulldogs had the lead for more than six minutes of the first half and trailed only 28-21 at halftime.
Yale then opened the second half on 12-8 run, capped by an Anthony Dallier layup, to pull within 37-33. The Cavaliers, though, scored 16 straight points over the next nine minutes to seize control.
“The way they run their offense, it can wear you down,” Jones said.
Missing the injured Makai Mason for the season and herald freshman Jordan Bruner temporarily, Jones was forced to use three players more than 30 minutes, while only one Virginia player saw 30 minutes.
Guy was responsible for much of Virginia’s offensive success over the final 20 minutes. He hit a pair of tough three-pointers that were back-breakers and tallied 12 of his points after the intermission.
“We tried to go zone, and he came out and made some big shots,” Jones said.
Meanwhile, Virginia’s stifling defense forced Yale to use a lot of the shot clock on a number of occasions, which only seemed to get the big crowd more involved.
Virginia has now held an opponent under 40 points 16 times during Tony Bennett’s tenure as the Cavaliers head coach, including twice in three games this season. UVa was 8-of-9 from the free throw line, while the Bulldogs had only four opportunities and made two.