CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Virginia coach Tony Bennett never wanted to admit before the season began that the Cavaliers were a deep team with many scoring options, especially in the low post. He’s going to have a tough time denying it now.
Anthony Gill came off the bench and scored 18 points and Joe Harris had 16 as Virginia beat Navy 67-42 on Tuesday night in a lopsided game that allowed Bennett to toy with different player combinations.
“It’s great just to see how much depth we do have,” Gill, a power forward who transferred from South Carolina, said. “Coach Bennett can throw anyone in at any given time and there will be no letdown.”
Mike Tobey, who replaced Gill in the starting lineup, added 13 points and eight rebounds and Malcolm Brogdon scored 13 for Virginia (3-1), which won its second straight since a 59-56 home loss to No. 10 VCU.
Bennett said he went with Tobey in the starting five after he led the team with 18 points in a weekend victory against Davidson, and because he wanted the scoring presence close to the basket right away.
“He can score and I think that’s important for us because we’re not shooting it well from the outside,” Bennett said after the Cavaliers made just 3 of 15 3-point tries but still shot 56.6 percent.
Tobey finished 6 for 10 from the field, and even made a sky hook, and Gill was 8 for 9 against the much smaller Midshipmen.
Harris, too, bounced back after scoring just one point in the victory against Davidson, hitting 7 of 8 from the field, and said this team is not like last year’s, which relied heavily on his scoring. He averaged 15.8 points a season ago.
“There’s a lot more depth this year. Everybody can see that,” he said.
Tobey is pleased to be a part of it.
“Last year, if Joe didn’t score a field goal, we probably lose by 20,” he said.
The Cavaliers, which beat Davidson 70-57 on Saturday in Charlotte, N.C., led 32-17 at halftime and never let the Midshipmen make a run, allowing both coaches to substitute liberally in the closing minutes.
Navy coach Ed DeChellis wasn’t excited to see the 6-foot-11 Tobey in the starting lineup.
“He was a will-horse for them,” he said. “He’s a tough kid for us to match. Their strength, they’re physical and big. It was tough to complete some plays that we normally complete.”
The Midshipmen (2-3), facing Virginia for the first time since 1974, got 15 points from Brandon Venturini but shot just 33 percent (16-48) and were outrebounded 40-19. They had just two offensive rebounds.
After a back-and-forth first 12 minutes, Virginia pulled ahead with a 13-0 run as the Midshipmen went scoreless for nearly six minutes, at one point committing six turnovers in a row without a shot.
The run included a trip downcourt for Virginia on which Darion Atkins was fouled, missed both shots and Harris rebounded for the Cavaliers and also was fouled. Harris then missed both his free throws as well, the start of a night on which Virginia converted just four of 11 attempts from the line.
Navy shot just 30.4 percent in the half (7-23), and Virginia shot 57.7 percent (15-26).
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