Virginia's four-game exhibition tour in Italy started off with a bang as the Cavaliers routed Stella Azzurra 76-24 on Saturday in Rome.
Of course, this is only an exhibition match, but since it's the first time we've seen this year's UVA men's basketball team compete in a live game, we're naturally going to overanalyze everything.
Virginia ran a starting five of Reece Beekman, Isaac McKneely, Armaan Franklin, Jayden Gardner, and Kadin Shedrick, while Kihei Clark, Francisco Caffaro, and Taine Murray were inactive for the game as part of Tony Bennett's rotation plan for the four exhibition games. Three different players will sit out each game in order to ensure that the 9 or 10 players who do play get enough minutes in that particular game.
It is very interesting to see Isaac McKneely starting along with last year's usual starters, minus Kihei Clark. This move allowed Reece Beekman to start as the true point guard and McKneely slid in at shooting guard. Obviously, this is just an exhibition match overseas, but it says something that this was the starting lineup Tony Bennett was eager to see on the floor for the first game of the tour.
Virginia dominated the game from start to finish. Perhaps overmatched by the Hoos, Stella Azzurra managed just four points in the first quarter and trailed 40-10 at halftime.
A few highlight clips were posted to the UVA basketball social media channels, including this three-pointer from Ohio transfer Ben Vander Plas:
Kadin Shedrick led Virginia with 13 points and seven rebounds and all ten Cavaliers who played in the game scored points. First year Leon III had 10 points, four rebounds, and two blocks.
Here's Jayden Gardner hitting his virtually unstoppable fadeaway mid-range jumper:
Kadin Shedrick had eight points and five boards in the first half. First year Ryan Dunn and Ohio transfer Ben Vander Plas had seven points each in the first half and Reece Beekman finished the game with nine points, seven assists, and five rebounds. Isaac Traudt put together a solid stat line with eight points, four rebounds, and three steals.
UVA led 57-16 at the end of the third quarter and Virginia won 76-24. Level of competition must be taken into account, but it's good to see the Hoos dominate on both ends of the floor, scoring with ease while maintaining their suffocating defense.
See more highlights from the game in this video from Virginia Sports TV on YouTube:
Virginia will play the second game of its exhibition tour on Monday, August 15th in Florence.
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