No. 7 Virginia dominates Iowa in hoops
By BILL KACZOR
NICEVILLE, Fla. — Jerred Reuter led a well-balanced scoring attack with 14 points and No. 7 Virginia’s stifling trademark defense set the tone for a 74-41 victory over Iowa on Friday night in the semifinals of the Emerald Coast Classic.
The Cavaliers (5-0) will play for the tournament title on Saturday against the winner of Friday’s late game between Memphis and Providence.
Three other Cavaliers scored in double figures: London Perrantes with 12, Isaiah Wilkins 11 and Darius Thompson 10.
Offense, though, took a back seat as it often does whenever Virginia plays.
The Cavaliers began the day leading the nation in scoring defense by holding opponents to 38.8 points per game.
Iowa (3-2) barely bested that average, led by Peter Jok’s 13 points. The Hawkeyes shot only 31.3 percent from the field including 26.1 percent from 3-point range.
The Cavaliers hit 48.3 percent from the field including 47.1 percent on 3s.
Iowa opened the scoring with two free throws by Nicholas Baer, but Virginia went on an 11-0 run that began with a 3-pointer by Thompson and the Hawkeyes never threatened again.
The win was the first for Virginia in only the third game between the schools. The previous meetings came in the 1997 NCAA Tournament’s first round and the 2013 NIT quarterfinals.
Virginia is seeking its fourth straight regular-season tournament championship.
Virginia: The Cavaliers passed their first real test of the season on
Black Friday after fattening up with four easy pre-Thanksgiving wins against UNC Greensboro, St. Francis, Brooklyn, Yale and Grambling
State. They did it without Memphis transfer Austin Nichols, who was expected to provide low post scoring but was dismissed from the team for rules violations a week earlier. Now the going continues to get
tougher with Memphis or Providence on Saturday and then Ohio State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday, followed by No. 19 West Virginia and East Carolina.
Iowa: The high-flying Hawkeyes, who had been averaging 96.2 points per game before Friday, crash landed against Virginia’s defensive scheme.
The Hawkeyes considered it a learning experience going in and they’ll quickly get a chance to see how well they grasped that lesson against Memphis or Providence, both proficient defensive teams. Then it doesn’t get any easier next week when Iowa plays at Notre Dame in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge on Tuesday.
Defeating Iowa will strengthen Virginia’s Top 10 ranking as it marks the Cavaliers’ first win against a major conference foe. Their No. 7 ranking is based on blowout wins against four much weaker opponents to open the season.
Virginia broke a two-game losing streak in Florida, but it was just
the third win in the Cavaliers’ last 23 trips to the Sunshine State
including 1-11 at Florida State and 1-6 at Miami.
Virginia: The Cavaliers play for the tournament championship Saturday at Northwest Florida State College against the winner of Friday’s second semifinal between Memphis and Providence, which were 4-0 and 3-1 before playing each other.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes play in the Emerald Coast consolation game Saturday against the loser of Friday’s second semifinal between Memphis and Providence.