Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 30, 2012

Career day by Tobey leads Cavs past Terriers

Staff reports
Associated Press

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Getting dominated inside and losing to an Old Dominion team that had lost nine in a row didn’t sit well with Virginia’s big men over the Christmas break. In their first chance to make amends, they found someone else to dominate.

Six-foot-11 freshman Mike Tobey scored a career-high 19 points on 9-for-10 shooting Sunday and the Cavaliers shot 63.8 percent (30 of 47) as a team in a 74-39 victory against Wofford. The Cavaliers limited the Terriers to 33.3 percent shooting (14 of 42).

“It was not a good way to go into our winter break,” Tobey said of the 63-61 loss to the Monarchs Dec. 22 at Richmond Coliseum. “It was important to bounce back.”

Tobey also grabbed six rebounds and blocked a shot, while Akil Mitchell and Joe Harris scored 15 each for the Cavaliers (10-3), who hadn’t played since and may have responded with their most complete performance of the season at both ends.

“We got an earful and we deserved it. We needed to hear it,” Mitchell said of the practices leading up to Sunday. “It resonated throughout the team and we all bounced back. I’m proud of the guys.”

Coach Tony Bennett was most pleased with his team’s defense as Virginia held its sixth opponent under 50 points and its third under 40. The Cavaliers outrebounded the Terriers 31-19 and forced 17 turnovers that led to 24 points.

“We were there on the catch and didn’t give them too many uncontested shots, and I thought that made the difference on the defensive end,” Bennett said. On offense, he added, “Mike showed his soft touch. He really has a nice touch. It’s just a matter of time as his strength comes and his experience. He’ll get better.”   

Spencer Collins led the Terriers (6-7) with 17 points while Wofford scoring leader Karl Cochran hit his only basket 47 seconds into the game and finished with five points (12 below his average) on 1-for-11 shooting. No other Terriers players scored more than four points, making for a far different outcome than their 56-55 win at Xavier in their last outing.

“This is a humbling game,” Terriers coach Mike Young said. “About the time you think you’ve got it figured out, you get a baseball bat across the kneecaps, and that’s what happened to us. Virginia got us in every way.”

Wofford trailed just 17-15 after 14 minutes before Virginia closed the half with a 14-2 run to take charge. The Terriers scored two early second-half baskets, but Virginia tightened up defensively and stretched the run to 39-6 spanning the halves.

Bennett substituted liberally thereafter.

Tobey was removed to rousing applause with about 2 1/2 minutes to play.

With Virginia leading 17-15, a 3-pointer by Harris with 6:04 left in the first half sparked a 14-2 that lasted the rest of the half. Harris and Mitchell scored five points each and Tobey four during the run.

After two free throws by Collins with 5:36 to go, the Terriers didn’t score again the rest of the half.