UVA begins national title defense with win at Syracuse

UVA begins national title defense with win at Syracuse
Virginia guard Kihei Clark (Source: UVA Athletics)

SYRACUSE, NY (WWBT) - Three players scored in double figures and the Virginia defense looked to be in mid-season form, as the No. 11 Cavaliers topped Syracuse, 48-34, to open their 2019-2020 season. The 34 points scored by the Orange marked the least they have ever put up in the Carrier Dome.

It was not the best offensive showing for either squad. Virginia opened up a 13-2 lead halfway through the opening frame, but saw the Orange chip away, trimming the Cavalier advantage to 25-19 at the half.

After a Wahoo surge to open the second half, Syracuse pulled to within six with 14:39 remaining, but Virginia opened the lead back up to 18 with six minutes to go and cruised to the win. The Cavaliers improved to 11-0 in ACC openers under Tony Bennett.

Mamadi Diakite led the way in scoring for UVA with 12 points. Jay Huff added 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Kihei Clark chipped in 10 points and 11 boards for his first career double-double.

Virginia’s defense was strong, as Syracuse shot just 23.6 percent from the floor. UVA shot just 40.8 percent, and connected on just four of its 25 three point attempts, but the defensive effort allowed the Wahoos to control most of the game. They owned the glass as well, out-rebounding the Orange, 47-28.

UVA returns to Charlottesville for its home opener against James Madison on Sunday at 6:00pm.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.