No. 6 Virginia beats Morgan State 86-48 in opener
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Tony Bennett and his Virginia players have their eyes on a deep NCAA run behind fifth-year stars Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill. The Cavaliers' opener brought encouraging signs from a player Bennett is counting on to support those two.
Center Mike Tobey had 15 points and eight rebounds and the No. 6 Cavaliers shook off early shooting problems to beat Morgan State 86-48 on Friday night.
''He looks a little stronger and a little more explosive,'' Bennett said. ''He made some nice up-and-unders. He showed good hands on the catch, so that was good to see.''
The 7-foot Tobey took full advantage of the 5 inches he had on Morgan State big men Kyle Thomas and Phillip Carr. He converted a pair of second-half putbacks during a 17-0 run coming out of the halftime break that put the injury-ravaged, outmanned Bears away.
''I knew that size was going to be a factor,'' Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said. ''I'm not telling you that if we'd had all those guys we'd have come down here and beat them. I knew that we were overmatched.''
The Cavaliers missed 12 of their first 13 shots before pulling away with a 24-9 run at the end the first half, and a 17-0 burst at the start of the second. Devon Hall added 13 points, and Gill and Darius Thompson had 12 each.
''I don't really remember all the misses, but I do remember the makes,'' Gill said. ''We just kept fighting until we could put the ball in the bucket.''
Thomas led Morgan State with 14 points. The Bears trailed just 16-14 before Tobey kicked off the Cavaliers' decisive run with a layup and a dunk.
Morgan State: Carr, a transfer from Williston State, was one of two newcomers in the Bears' starting lineup, along with freshman Antonio Gillespie. ... Assistant coach Brian Ellerbe spent four years at Virginia, starting in 1990. He worked under Jeff Jones, now coach at Old Dominion. Jones' son, also named Jeff, is a junior walk-on for Virginia.
Virginia: Thompson got the start at guard in his first game at Virginia after transferring from Tennessee. Thompson and Gill, previously of South Carolina, give the Cavaliers two SEC transfers in their starting lineup. ... Virginia great Ralph Sampson, a three-time national player of the year from 1980-83, was in attendance.
Morgan State visits Towson on Monday night
Virginia visits George Washington on Monday night.