November 16, 2019 / 7:15 PM / a month ago

No. 9 Virginia cruises, tops Columbia 60-42

EditorsNote: minor edits

Nov 16, 2019; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers forward Jay Huff (30) blocks the shot of Columbia Lions guard Cameron Shockley-Okeke (12) in the first half at John Paul Jones Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Huff scored 13 points and blocked a career-high five shots and No. 9 Virginia never trailed in a 60-42 victory against Columbia on Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville, Va.

Mamadi Diakite had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Kihei Clark contributed 10 points and five assists for the Cavaliers (3-0). Braxton Key tallied nine points and nine boards, while Huff added six rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Mike Smith scored a game-high 16 points and Randy Brumant had nine for the Lions (1-3).

The defending national champion Cavaliers have won 19 straight nonconference home games and have held their first three opponents to an average of just 36.7 points.

Virginia improved to 90-2 when holding teams under 50 points since Tony Bennett became the head coach in 2009-10.

After making only 8 of 50 3-point attempts in the first two games, the Cavaliers sank 5 of 15 against the Lions of the Ivy League.

Huff extended UVA’s lead to 44-23 with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 12:56 left, then stretched it to 51-29 with a two-handed dunk with 9:45 to play.

Diakite gave the Cavaliers their largest lead at 55-29 with a second-chance layup with 7:44 remaining, with Bennett emptying his bench soon after.

Columbia, which fell to 0-3 all-time against Virginia, has not beaten a Top 25 team since 1976 and has not defeated an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent since 1969.

The Lions trailed 31-17 at halftime, finishing the first half with the same number of turnovers (seven) as made field goals (7 of 28).

Virginia scored the first 10 points of the game, with Columbia finally getting on the board with a layup by Jake Killingsworth at the 15:23 mark.

The Cavaliers blocked six shots in the opening half, four by Huff. The 7-foot-1 junior led all scorers in the half with eight points off the bench, including two alley-oop dunks — a reverse jam and a one-handed slam — on passes from Clark.

This was the first of two home games for UVA in the 2019 Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. The Cavaliers host Vermont on Tuesday. Columbia’s next game is Wednesday at St. John’s.

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