U.Va.'s defense rests
Virginia's struggles on defense lead to a loss to Stanford on a last-second shot.
BY DARRYL SLATER
firstname.lastname@example.org | 247-4641
January 7, 2007, 9:47 PM EST
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Questions gnawed at Dave Leitao these past few days, and while he knew the answers would arrive Sunday evening, he feared that, even then, they might leave him feeling sick.
What would happen, he wondered, when his Virginia men's basketball team didn't play like it played Wednesday against Gonzaga? When it didn't score 108 points, win by 21, nail 18 3-pointers, get 37 from its point guard?
What would happen when lazy defense in practices after the Gonzaga game finally caught up to the Cavaliers?
Sunday's result would happen, and it did.
The Cavaliers crashed back to reality as their defense failed them in the second half, and Stanford's Lawrence Hill made a layup with 0.9 of a second left to give the Cardinal a 76-75 victory at John Paul Jones Arena.
Virginia's first loss at the first-year facility couldn't have ended in more devastating fashion, as the final 9.4 seconds sucked the breath from 13,846 pairs of lungs.
Virginia shooting guard J.R. Reynolds, a 75-percent free-throw shooter, went to the line with 9.4 remaining after drawing a foul from Fred Washington. With the game tied at 74, Reynolds' first shot rattled in and out. He made his second shot.
Washington drove the inbound pass down the court, into the lane, past Virginia's Solomon Tat. The Cavaliers collapsed into the lane, and Washington flicked a pass to his left, to Hill, the Cardinal's leading scorer. Hill, just 3-of-9 shooting at that point, lofted a layup from 6 feet to put Stanford up 76-75. Reynolds failed to get off a desperation heave before the buzzer.
Leitao said the decisive play was typical of the way the Cavaliers (9-4) played defense in the second half.
Stanford, which led 33-31 at halftime, shot 51.7 percent in the second half, compared to 40 percent in the first.
Not surprisingly, Virginia had no answer for 7-foot freshman twins Brook and Robin Lopez, who, at one point in the second half, combined to score eight consecutive points for the Cardinal (9-4).
Brook finished with 12 points, Robin 15. When Virginia double-teamed one of them, he dished the ball to the perimeter for points. "I didn't really have faith all game long in what we were trying to do defensively," Leitao said.
On the final play, Virginia had two freshmen in the game, Will Harris and Tat, who has just returned from a two-month injury absence. "It speaks to what was going on with everybody else when we've gotta rely on two young guys, especially one that's been hurt, to get stops for us," Leitao said.
If the coach figured he resolved his defensive worries during the 12-day break after the Cavaliers returned from the San Juan Shootout, he figured wrong. Virginia improved on defense in the past two games, and Leitao attributed some of that to an attitude adjustment after the San Juan trip.
Apparently, old bad habits resurfaced.
"You play how you practice, and that's what happened," junior Adrian Joseph said. "We practiced sloppy the last couple days, and it showed in the game. We got a little confidence going, and I guess we didn't show up the way we're supposed to."
Said Harris: "Defense is 90 percent attitude. If you wanna play defense, then you're gonna be able to do it. … We have to have more of a desire to play defense. More a determination, really."
Leitao knows his team's identity won't come from lighting up the scoreboard, as the Cavaliers did against Gonzaga. He knows Reynolds and point guard Sean Singletary remain his only consistent scoring threats, because swingman Mamadi Diane's offensive output still is spotty. Diane shot 1-of-6 for two points Sunday, played just 18 minutes and wasn't on the floor for the final 6:58.
"Our M.O. has to be, and is always gonna be, based on that (defensive) end of the floor," Leitao said. "So when we don't (play defense), we buy ourselves a lot of trouble."
Another late shot knocks out Cavs
Despite 24 points from Sean Singletary, UVa's lack of defense means a loss to visiting Stanford.
By Doug Doughty
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Sunday was the night that Virginia's new arena lost its aura.
The Cavaliers couldn't make any stops down the stretch and suffered their first loss at John Paul Jones Arena, 76-75, on a basket by Stanford's Lawrence Hill with 0.9 seconds left.
In a game that featured 14 lead changes, Virginia had gone ahead for the last time when senior guard J.R. Reynolds hit the second of two free throws with 9.4 seconds remaining.
Reynolds' first free-throw attempt had bounced around the rim before falling to the side, his only miss in eight tries.
"If he'd made two free throws, we'd have been up two," Leitao said. "They [would have come] down, they would have scored, it would have went to overtime and they probably would have scored some more.
"We'd have been sitting here talking about the same thing, except it would have been in overtime. That's the way we were playing defense."
Stanford (9-4) scored on 11 of its last 14 possessions despite losing 7-foot, 245-pound freshman Brook Lopez to fouls with 6:58 remaining.
Lopez finished with 12 points, but the Cardinal had five other players in double figures, including his twin brother and fellow wide-body, Robin, who had a team-high 15 points.
The Cavaliers (9-4) outrebounded Stanford 32-31 but were victims of the Cardinal's 51.7 percent shooting from the field in the second half.
The winning shot was the game in a microcosm. Stanford's Fred Washington drove the length of the court after Reynolds' second free throw, forced the defense into the middle and fed Hill for a slightly contested floater that rolled over the front rim and into the cylinder.
Virginia has lost two games on last-second shots, including Tarrance Crump's bucket with 1.2 seconds left in Purdue's 61-59 win over visiting Virginia in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
While Leitao lamented his team's defense Sunday, Stanford coach Trent Johnson praised his team's ability to execute.
"I don't know if we can play any better than how we played this evening," said Johnson, whose team was coming off a 67-63 loss Wednesday to California.
Virginia got a game-high 24 points from ACC scoring leader Sean Singletary, but fell behind 33-31 at the half as Nos. 2 and 3 scorers Reynolds and Mamadi Diane went scoreless, going a combined 0-for-8 from the field.
Reynolds sat out the final 8:24 of the first half after picking up his second foul, then picked up foul No. 3 after only 22 seconds of the second half. He immediately came out of the game and did not return until the 12:19 mark.
"I've just got to be smarter," Reynolds said.
Reynolds finished with 14 points, but his foul problems have been a constant in each of the Cavaliers' losses.
Reynolds has had two first-half fouls in all four of them.
"He got his first foul [early] and he got his second foul rather foolishly. reaching in on a loose ball, and that forced him to sit down," Leitao said.
"We'd been talking about it for two days: How are we going to play if we don't play as well [as UVa did against Gonzaga] at both ends of the floor?"
The Cavaliers had raced to a 34-point halftime lead Wednesday against Gonzaga and coasted to a 108-87 victory, thanks to a school-record 18 3-pointers. They had one 3-pointer in the first 15 minutes Sunday, although they finished 7-for-15 from behind the arc.
"Basically, you play how you practice and that's what happened," said Adrian Joseph, who gave UVa a third double-figure scorer, with 12 points off the bench. "We practiced sloppy the last couple of days and it showed up in the game."
Stanford tips UVa
By Whitelaw Reid / email@example.com | 978-7247
January 8, 2007
So much for putting together a full 40 minutes of intensive defense. So much for getting some payback for what happened last year in Palo Alto, Calif. So much for heading into the ACC season on a roll.
As Mark McGrath of the band Sugar Ray once crooned, “It’s gone out the window.”
On Sunday evening, Stanford handed Virginia its first-ever loss in the new John Paul Jones Arena.
The Cardinal, on the strength of a well-balanced scoring attack and strong inside play, beat UVa 76-75.
“I don’t honestly know if we could play any better than the way we played this evening,” said Stanford coach Trent Johnson. “Considering how bad we played and shot the ball [in a loss to] Cal at home, it’s a big win for us.”
Stanford (9-4), which was paced by 15 points from Robin Lopez, had five players score in double figures.
For the third straight game, Virginia (9-4) was led in scoring by Sean Singletary, who had 24 points.
With just 9.4 seconds remaining, UVa had a chance to build a two-point cushion, but J.R. Reynolds made just one of two free throws to put the Cavs up 75-74.
Stanford inbounded the ball underneath its own basket to Fred Washington. He rushed the ball upcourt and passed to Lawrence Hill, who was standing near the corner. Hill, Stanford’s leading scorer, slashed toward the center of the paint and lofted a leaning floater over the outstretched arm of Solomon Tat that found the bottom of the net with only 0.9 seconds left.
Virginia’s last gasp came on a heave from beyond the half-court line by Reynolds - an attempt that wasn’t close, and one that sent 13,846 fans home with frowns.
“Defensively, we weren’t very good all day,” said Virginia coach Dave Leitao. “I was hoping we could get a stop [on the last possession], but we didn’t get a whole lot of stops at all today.”
The defensive performance ruined any chance Virginia had of paying back Stanford for a loss in the first round of the NIT last March.
After winning its last three games following the San Juan Shootout fiasco, UVa seemed on its way to finding its collective groove. UVa’s defense was, at times, stifling against American and Gonzaga.
On Sunday, however, Virginia allowed Stanford to shoot 52 percent from the field in the second half.
“We never had any defensive rhythm,” Leitao said. “The backline never rotated. We gave up offensive rebounds. By halftime we had given up 10 free points or so, either by offensive rebounds, lack of rotations or lack of understanding their strengths position-by-position from the scouting
report. So I didn’t really have faith all game long in what we were trying to defensively.”
Leitao’s squad had trouble with Stanford’s 7-foot twins, Robin and Brook Lopez. Robin continually scored on Virginia with an unstoppable hook shot. When he was double-teamed, he made nice passes out to open teammates.
“They’re real good players,” said Virginia’s Lars Mikalasukas of the Lopez tandem. “They can shoot the ball well and they’re tall.”
Stanford did a decent job of containing Singletary. The Virginia guard, who had scored 70 points in his last two games, shot just 6 of 14 from the field.
“Our game plan was to pray,” Johnson joked. “No, we tried numerous things. We tried to run two guys at [Singletary].
“He’s exceptional. He’s 6-0, but he plays 6-foot-7. You can’t contain a guy like that as long as he has the ball in his hands, so we just wanted to make him work for everything that he got.”
Meanwhile, Reynolds was a no-show until the second half. All 14 of his points came after the break.
But offense wasn’t really Virginia’s issue.
“We couldn’t get any stops in the second half,” Reynolds said. “We didn’t have any energy. I don’t know what we have to do to get guys’ energy up.
“We kind of relaxed a little bit and didn’t have the same kind of energy that we did the two games before.”
Virginia better find their energy - quickly.
“We can’t really get frustrated right now because we have UNC on Wednesday and Boston College on Saturday,” Mikalauskas said. “[This wasn’t] our last game in the world, you know.”
Added Adrian Joseph: “We can’t dwell on this game. Everybody loses. It’s how you respond after that. Hopefully we respond strong.”
Stanford now leads the all-time series 5-1. … Singletary opened the scoring with a 3-pointer for the third straight game. … Virginia had a season-low seven assists in the game … UVa outrebounded Stanford, 32-31. The Cavs have outrebounded their opponents in 10 of 13 games.
Leitao still looking for better 'D'
By Jerry Ratcliffe / firstname.lastname@example.org | 978-7251
January 8, 2007
No sooner than Virginia had pimp-slapped Gonzaga all the way back to the West Coast last Wednesday night, Cavaliers’ coach Dave Leitao tossed in a word of caution.
While Wahoo Nation was giddy with the prospect of such a lopsided win, Leitao knew that his team wouldn’t be shooting lights out from 3-point range every night as when they zigged against the Zags for a school-record 18 treys. The old coaches will tell you that it’s all about defense.
Righting the wrongs
The Cavaliers discovered that age-old adage about defense winning championships was oh, so true during back-to-back losses to mediocre opponents in Puerto Rico only days before Christmas. They seemed to have snapped out of their defensive sleepwalk to score impressive wins over American, which has since floundered, and in blowing out Gonzaga.
A lack of defensive intensity reared its ugly head again Sunday, delivering a cold slap to the face in a last-second, 76-75 loss to Stanford. It was the first home loss of the season for Virginia, now 9-4, with the likes of No. 1 North Carolina and Boston College looming ahead on the road where the Cavs have been, hmmm, how can we put this nicely, less than spectacular.
Cardinal on point
Stanford, a team that shoots about 44 percent on the season, came into John Paul Jones Arena and shot like it owned the place in the second half, once the newness wore off. The Cardinal converted 51.7 percent of their shots over the final 20 minutes, and even more importantly scored on 11 of their last 14 possessions with the lead leapfrogging back and forth in a game that was destined to go to the wire.
The fact that Virginia’s defense was as shoddy as ever, something that is driving Leitao bananas, was the major contributing factor.
Stanford coach Trent Johnson had simply hoped to use his team’s size advantage (with dual 7-footers Robin and Brook Lopez), limit Virginia’s transition baskets, and keep it a halfcourt game in the 70s, which meant he went 3 for 3 on his wish list.
UVa’s lack of defensive intensity was a bonus that Johnson hadn’t counted upon.
What a predicament
While the game came down to Stanford’s Lawrence Hill hitting the winning shot in the lane with less than a second to play after UVa’s J.R. Reynolds had missed the front end of two free-throw chances, Leitao didn’t
believe the senior guard’s miss made any real difference in the outcome.
The coach’s statement regarding that situation was more revealing about his team’s ongoing defensive predicament as any statistical data ever could.
“The way we were playing, if [Reynolds] made two free throws, we’d be up two, they would have come down and scored, we would have gone to overtime and they probably would have scored some more,” Leitao said. “So, we’d be sitting here talking about the same thing, except it would have been in overtime. That’s the way we were playing defense.”
The Virginia coach believes everything about his team begins with defense. Anything less than a good defensive effort negatively affects every other phase of the game, including offense.
Sunday’s loss included a 43 percent shooting effort for the game by the Cavs, a typical offensive performance when the team lags defensively.
Reynolds, who scored all 14 of his points in the second half, and small forward Adrian Joseph, who contributed 12 points, said that neither were surprised by the lack of defensive intensity, hinting that the team had struggled with that aspect of the game in practice the past couple of days leading to the game.
“We didn’t have any energy in practice and we didn’t have any today,” said Reynolds. “We kind of relaxed a little bit. We didn’t have the same type of intensity.”
There’s no mystery about Virginia’s concept of how to play the game. It’s all about defense, a topic pounded into the players’ souls on a daily basis.
Leitao was perplexed at how Stanford forward Fred Washington drove on UVa’s defense at will and guard Anthony Goods got more open looks than he should have, especially after the Cavs played such good defense in beating Gonzaga and stopping Zags’ deadeye shooter Derek Raivio cold when it mattered most.
Raivio finished with 26 points in the 108-87 loss to the Cavs, but was held to four shots and five points in the first half when UVa built an insurmountable 60-26 lead.
“If you look at a guy like Raivio, who is probably the best shooter we have played thus far, and he can’t get open looks ... as opposed to [Johnnie] Bryant of Utah or [Anthony] Goods tonight, and they felt very comfortable shooting, that tells me the inconsistency about which we approach defense,” Leitao said.
Considering Virginia’s miserable road record over the past two seasons and even beyond, this week could be a hellish journey if the Cavaliers can’t get their defensive act together.
“Shucks, it’s January,” Leitao reminded. “All I do is watch games and good teams do something, you know. Our M.O. has to be - and is always going to be - based on that end of the floor. When we don’t, we buy ourselves a lot of trouble.”
Groh's glass is half full
Cavs hope to build from up-and-down season
By Jay Jenkins / email@example.com | 978-7247
January 8, 2007
In a perfect world, Al Groh would walk out of a posh, five-star hotel in Arizona this morning and board a team bus headed for the BCS national championship game.
Virginia’s football coach would do so with a magical game plan in hand, one that included answers on how to defend Ohio State’s vaunted offense.
Unfortunately for Groh, those dreams remain just that. They were erased long before the first month of the season ended when Virginia lost to Pittsburgh, Western Michigan and Georgia Tech.
The hopes of playing in a lower-tiered bowl game were also shattered when Virginia failed to score on the road in the regular season’s final month, leaving the Cavaliers at 5-7 overall and 4-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
In a way, Groh paid the price. School officials elected not to extend his contract a year, keeping it as a four-year pact that stretches to 2010.
While Groh has not discussed the move publicly, it likely added fuel to a fire that the roller-coaster season ignited.
To Groh’s credit, he saw the writing on the wall long before Christian Olsen took the first snap under center at Heinz Field.
“There was a little bit of a cycle that we went through this year,” Groh said at a season-ending press conference. “We lost a lot of high-end talent at this time last year - talent of the coaching staff, talent off the player personnel.”
The brunt of those departures were felt on the offensive side of the ball where the Cavaliers were forced to replace three offensive linemen, running back Wali Lundy and quarterback Marques Hagans.
Olsen, who was tabbed the starter in the preseason, was replaced midway through the second game by junior Kevin McCabe. That project was short-lived - after McCabe threw two interceptions against the Broncos, redshirt freshman Jameel Sewell played the entire second half and learned on the job the final nine games.
“A lot of college football games are games of offense, and offense is basically quarterback driven,” Groh said. “After having an excellent year [in ’05] in terms of vertical passing, there was a big drop off in terms of the production in that area of the game. Those require more time in the pocket, longer drops … that requires more pass protection.
“How far and how often the ball gets thrown down the field always starts with the pass protection circumstances. Then you look to the receivers, their ability to get open and then you look to the quarterback’s ability to throw it.”
Sewell, who completed 143 of 247 passes for 1,342 yards and five touchdowns, led the team to wins over Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and Miami, but struggled in road losses to Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
Despite the inconsistency, the future remains bright for the southpaw.
“We saw circumstances this year where, for a variety of reasons in that particular game, I think for Jameel the game was really in focus,” Groh said. “It was moving at a speed that visually and physically he was right in tune with. And then there were a couple games in there where probably the game was too fast.”
Even though nine starters are expected back, Groh knows attention must be paid to a unit that scored only two third-quarter touchdowns and ranked last in the conference in total offense.
“We certainly would have our head in the sand if we said just by flipping the pages of the calendar we’re going to get some of the issues resolved that we want to,” Groh said.
The concerns are not as obvious for a defensive unit that improved steadily under first-year defensive coordinator Mike London. In fact, nine starters are expected back from a unit that posted two shutouts and currently ranks 17th nationally in total defense (289.5 ypg) and 23rd in scoring defense (17.8 ppg).
“I think maybe towards the end of the ’05 season we lost our way on defense, we just kinda got off the path, and I think we are back on track with that now,” Groh said. “And with all those players coming back, plus more talent coming up, we have expectations … and got it going the way that we want it to go.
“The improvement on defense was significant.”
Groh did not promise a national title or even a trip to the ACC Championship game in 2007, although he pointed out how Georgia Tech and Wake Forest rebounded so quickly. For now, Groh just looks at the glass as half full.
“I am very positive, very upbeat, very confident in terms of what kind of team we can have next year,” he said. “They want to be good. They’ve got talent. They’ve demonstrated a willingness to work. We have more work to do, obviously … if it was all in place right now, we would have had some different results.”
UVa football's top 5 plays and forgettable moments in 2006
By Jay Jenkins / firstname.lastname@example.org | 978-7247
January 8, 2007
TOP FIVE PLAYS
1. SNELLING SEALS THE DEAL AGAINST N.C. STATE
With 91 seconds left, UVa tailback Jason Snelling rumbled into the end zone for a 17-yard game-winning touchdown. Moments after Snelling’s TD, UVa secured the win when safety Tony Franklin intercepted a pass from Wolfpack quarterback Daniel Evans.
2. THE KICK HEARD THROUGH THE ’VILLE
Needing only one short, swift kick to keep the game alive, Wyoming placekicker Aric Goodman pushed a PAT wide right in overtime to secure an improbable win at Scott Stadium. “I was lucky enough to be part of a team to win the Super Bowl on a kick on the last play of the game that went wide right,” UVa coach Al Groh said afterward. “This one felt almost as good.” UVa scored its lone TD in OT when reserve QB Kevin McCabe connected on a 25-yard strike to Kevin Ogletree.
3. THE 12TH MAN
Leading 7-0 and longing for separation against Miami, UVa reached - albeit accidentally - into an unknown bag of tricks. The Cavs scored on a 2-yard TD run by quarterback Jameel Sewell in the second quarter with 12 men on the field, a feat that Groh had never witnessed. Moments before the play, Groh asked his assistants if they wanted a timeout. Sewell snapped the ball before an answer arrived. “Jameel [snapped the ball] so we all just held our breaths,” Groh said. “Sometimes, it takes a little bit of good fortune, too.”
4. A BIRTHDAY BASH
Leading 9-0 off three field goals from Chris Gould, Sewell put the icing on his own birthday cake with an 18-yard TD run in the third quarter of a 23-point win over North Carolina. Not only was it one of just two touchdowns that UVa recorded in the third quarter during the 12-game season, but it came on Sewell’s 19th birthday and in front of an ESPN audience.
5. A COMING OUT PARTY
Perhaps it was fitting that DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald, somewhat of an unsung hero, scored the one and only touchdown for Virginia’s defense. The redshirt freshman scooped up a fumble at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium in September and scooted 23 yards into the end zone for a late first-half score. Fitzgerald, who led the nation’s linemen by averaging 5.3 tackles per game, also intercepted a pass against the Blue Devils.
THE FORGETTABLE 5
1. THE PUNT THAT GOT AWAY
Up 20-0 in the third quarter against Maryland, UVa appeared well on its way to its third win of the season. But confusion set in for the Cavs - should Emmanuel Byers or Mike Brown run onto the field to return a Terp punt booted from the 50? Al Groh wanted Brown. Instead, the coach got Byers and a game-changing play - Maryland’s punt snuck through Byers’ hands. The fumble was recovered by the Terps just inches from their end zone. “I didn’t get my feet set, the ball was really high, and I took some steps back I shouldn’t have,” Byers said. The Terps rallied for a 28-26 win.
2. A HOKIE HIGH
Virginia appeared content to enter halftime locked in a scoreless dual with Virginia Tech. That changed in one play. With the Cavaliers lined up in a five-receiver formation, Virginia Tech linebacker Xavier Adibi blitzed untouched through Virginia’s offensive line and hit quarterback Jameel Sewell, forcing a costly fumble that the Hokies recovered at their own 12. Four plays later, VT running back George Bell scored on a 1-yard TD run.
3. GONE IN 74 SECONDS
Jameel Sewell will never forget the offensive play he ran at Florida State. The southpaw threw an errant pass that was intercepted by FSU cornerback Tony Carter and returned 35 yards for a quick touchdown, one that opened the floodgates and kept Virginia winless in Florida.
4. SAD START
Thanks to one play in particular, the Christian Olsen experiment ended almost before it started. Trailing by a touchdown midway through the third quarter, the fifth-year senior threw a costly interception - Darelle Revis picked off a pass from Olsen and raced 19 yards into the end zone. Pitt, which also returned another interception later in the game for a score, cruised to a season-opening win over the Cavs.
5. HUMBLING HOMECOMING
In what proved to be the last pass thrown by Kevin McCabe, Western Michigan took a lead that it never relinquished. McCabe, who was attempting to hit reserve wideout Mike Robertson in the flat, threw a pass that was deflected into the hands of WMU’s Desman Stephen. It turned into a game-winning 34-yard interception return for the Broncos.
Defense dooms Cavaliers
Last-second shot seals it; Leitao says U.Va. couldn't stop Stanford
BY JEFF WHITE
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 8, 2007
STANFORD 76 VIRGINIA 75
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- By going 1 for 2 from the foul line with 9.4 seconds left last night, University of Virginia guard J.R. Reynolds ensured that Stanford could win in regulation without having to hit a 3-pointer.
But Dave Leitao didn't blame Reynolds for the Cavaliers' 76-75 loss -- their first defeat at John Paul Jones Arena. Leitao, U.Va.'s second-team coach, blamed his team's shoddy defense.
"The way we were playing, if he'd made two free throws, we'd have been up two, they'd have come down, they would have scored," Leitao said.
"And when we went to overtime, they probably would have scored some more. We'd be sitting talking about the same thing, except it would have been in overtime. That's the way we were playing defense."
Virginia, which entered the season with aspirations of reaching the NCAA tournament, dropped to 9-4 in front of a disappointed crowd of 13,846. The Cavaliers led 63-59 after Reynolds made two free throws with 6:58 left, but Leitao said he never felt victory was imminent.
His doubts proved well-founded. Stanford (9-4) scored on 11 of its final 14 possessions. The game-winner came after Reynolds made the second of his two foul shots to put Virginia ahead 75-74.
Cardinal forward Fred Washington, a 6-5 senior, brought the ball up the court and then drove past freshman Solomon Tat and into the lane. When the Cavs converged on Washington, he passed to sophomore forward Lawrence Hill, who dribbled once before putting up a soft 5-footer that dropped through with nine-tenths of a second left.
U.Va., which resumes ACC play Wednesday at North Carolina, is becoming familiar with last-second defeats. In the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Virginia lost 61-59 in West Lafayette, Ind., when a Purdue player sank a 10-footer with 1.2 seconds left.
Four days after torching Gonzaga for a career-high 37 points, U.Va. point guard Sean Singletary played brilliantly again. He scored 24 points and, along with junior forward Adrian Joseph (12 points), kept Virginia close when most of their teammates were struggling offensively.
"I'm not one to throw praise around, but he's as good as it gets," Stanford coach Trent Johnson said of Singletary, the ACC's leading scorer.
Virginia had been getting an average of nearly 28 points per game from Reynolds and sophomore swingman Mamadi Diane. At halftime yesterday they'd combined for zero points.
Reynolds, hampered by early foul trouble, eventually reverted to form on offense, scoring all 14 of his points in the final 12:02 to help U.Va. battle back from a five-point deficit. But Diane scored only two points and spent much of the second half on the bench.
Stanford, which ended the Cavaliers' 2005-06 season by beating them in the NIT's opening round, enjoyed an enormous height advantage last night. Johnson sent out starters listed at 6-4, 6-5, 6-8, 7-0 and 7-0, respectively.
"I think that it's to our advantage, no matter who we play, or where we play, or when we play," Johnson said, "if we can keep the game on the half court, utilize our size and play big."
The 7-footers are 245-pound twins Robin and Brook Lopez, who started alongside each other for the first time last night. Brook Lopez, who fouled out with 6:58 left, scored 12 points in only 15 minutes. Robin Lopez, who like his brother was 6 for 10 from the floor, totaled 15 points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.