In a game that, at times, resembled a weekday afternoon pick up game in the Dell (the outdoor courts on the UVA grounds), Virginia managed to put just enough offense together to outlast Towson University, 57-50.
"When we play well, we're good. We can play with most teams and be successful," Coach Tony Bennett told the media in his postgame comments. "(But) when we don't, we become very average to below average."
Or, he might have added, when Mike Scott sees limited playing time due to foul problems.
For the fourth time in the last five games, Scott was unable to get to intermission without committing his second personal foul.
When he was on the floor, Towson clogged the paint making entry passes difficult.
"They did sort of sandwich him and we didn't get him a lot of touches," Bennett said. "We probably could have (done) some more things to get it to him."
Fortunately, on a night when most of the Cavaliers' shooting touches were far chillier than the unseasonably warm temperatures outside, Sammy Zeglinski and Joe Harris rode to the rescue.
Tied at 16 with just under 2:30 to go in the first half, Zeglinski and Harris would combine for Virginia's next 17 points in just over a nine-minute span.
For the game the two of them would shoot 11-of-23 while the rest of the team was a dismal 5-of-23. Zeglinski was 4-of-8, and Harris 2-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Their efforts didn't stop with scoring on a night when the Cavaliers' interior game went missing. Harris had a game-high seven rebounds while Zeglinski chipped in with five.
The win gave the 'Hoos a 10-game winning streak, their longest in 10 years. The 12-1 start is their best in 29 years.
The Towson Tigers, on the other hand, just completed a winless 2011 calendar year, losing for the 32nd straight time overall.
Towson head coach Pat Skerry praised his team's defensive intensity. "The reality is we won't go (another) 0-32 if we defend like that."
The Cavaliers now quickly head to Baton Rouge for a Monday night encounter with the LSU Tigers where they hope the good times continue to roll.
ACC Conference play opens January 7 versus Miami at JPJ Arena.
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