CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. —
Akil Mitchell tied his career-high with 20 points and Virginia won its seventh straight game, defeating Mississippi Valley State 67-39 on Saturday.
Justin Anderson had 15 points and Darion Atkins added 14 points for the Cavaliers (8-2), who improved to 7-1 at home.
For the second straight game, Virginia held its opponent to under 40 points — the first time the Cavaliers have done so since the 1948-49 season.
“We’re thankful that we’re 8-2 after starting off 1-2,” said Virginia coach Tony Bennett, whose team has 11 days off for winter exams before its next game. “We played good stretches of basketball, but we have some things to work on.”
Davon Usher led winless Mississippi Valley State (0-5) with 14 points.
The Delta Devils shot just 19 percent (11 of 58) from the field, the second-lowest field-goal percentage by a Division-I team this season.
“For us to shoot 19 percent, that’s unheard of,” said Mississippi Valley State Chico Potts.
“You’re talking about college athletes, college basketball players, shooting the ball for a game 19 percent. I don’t know what that was about.”
Virginia, which entered the game ranked third nationally in scoring defense, was in full control from the opening tip. The Cavaliers raced out to a 12-2 lead, holding the Delta Devils without a field goal for nearly the first six minutes.
Virginia opened up a 22-11 advantage when Anderson made a steal and then a nice pass to Mitchell for a fast break dunk.
Virginia held the Delta Devils to 16 percent (4 of 25) from the field in the first half.
In the second half, the Cavaliers quickly extended their lead. Mitchell scored the team’s first 10 points after halftime, highlighting his scoring spurt with a driving two-handed dunk, one of a season-high eight Virginia slams.
“It’s fun for the guys, the team, the fans, but winning basketball games isn’t all about entertainment,” said Mitchell, when asked about all the dunks. “I know my coach, and if we are out there making dumb decisions and dumb plays, he wouldn’t stand for it.”
Later, Anderson had the crowd on its feet after he deked out the Delta Devils’ defense with a fake behind-the-back pass and then dunked.
“Now the guys really have to buckle down and hit the books,” Bennett said. “We’ll have a couple days off and work through the finals schedule.”