No. 13 Virginia beats Hampton 82-48
By CHIP KNIGHTON
Dec. 23, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Ty Jerome is rounding into form at just the right time for Virginia.
Following a five-game stretch where he didn't get into double figures and shot better than 33 percent just once, the sophomore guard provided offense when his teammates weren't as the 13th-ranked Cavaliers defeated Hampton 82-48 on Friday night.
Jerome scored all 10 of his points in the first half with the Cavaliers (11-1) shooting poorly. His emergence is opportune as Virginia begins ACC play against Boston College on Dec. 30. He has started every game this season, but had his preseason workload managed as he dealt with a nagging foot injury.
"My confidence is exactly where it was in the games where I didn't shoot well and I didn't play well," Jerome said. "My confidence never wavers. It's just about coming out, being aggressive and making the right decisions."
After a cold start that saw the Cavaliers trail for 7 minutes of the first half, Jerome and Nigel Johnson traded 3-pointers and Isaiah Wilkins dunked to pull the Cavaliers even at 17-17. From there, they went on a 34-10 run wrapped around the halftime break to take control.
"One thing you have to understand about Virginia is they pay attention to detail," Hampton coach Edward Joyner Jr. said. "They don't miss an assignment. I told the guys, 'In that first 20 minutes, you didn't either.'"
The Cavaliers held Hampton to 20.6 percent from the field in the second half while shooting 51.5 percent themselves. Kyle Guy scored 12 of his game-high 15 points after the break after shooting 1 for 6 from the field in the first half.
"We want him to hunt the shot, be aggressive and, of course, take good shots," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "He really got going off a couple of out-of-bounds plays in the second half. It's rare to see a guy miss a few bad ones and he's one shot away from getting on a streak."
Virginia outscored Hampton (5-9) 34-10 in the paint, with Wilkins totaling six points, nine rebounds and three blocks as the Cavaliers outrebounded the Pirates 46-32. His most impactful play came with the game tied at 17 when he shadowed Hampton's Greg Heckstall for most of the shot clock, then outraced Austin Colbert to the long rebound at the opposite end of the court and called time out. Jerome made a corner 3 on the ensuing possession, and the Cavaliers never trailed again.
"What (Wilkins) did in the first half with his hustle and his heart, that's as good as it gets," Bennett said "That was my halftime talk. I said, 'That's what it is about. That's the hunger and the drive that I want.' I said about Isaiah, 'Let's all just hook our wagons to him and play with that kind of desire.'"
Virginia freshman DeAndre Hunter scored nine of his 14 points in the second half. Jermaine Marrow led Hampton with 11 points, but the Pirates couldn't get back into the game after the Cavaliers made their run.
"When a team like that gets a little bit of separation, time, physicality, all of that becomes a factor," Joyner said. "Now they can run what they run, and that's what really wears you down."
Hampton: As always, the Pirates' path to a third NCAA Tournament appearance in four years begins in earnest with the MEAC opener against Maryland Eastern Shore on Jan. 6.
Virginia: The Cavaliers close out their nonconference schedule at 11-1, with the only loss coming on the road at No. 10 West Virginia.
Jerome made it look easy on the game's most YouTube-worthy play, a first-half crossover dribble that sent Malique Trent-Street stumbling to the ground and freed him up for a wide-open 3.
The Pirates led for most of the early going and trailed 24-23 when Heckstall was called for a foul and a technical. Devon Hall and Wilkins made all four free throws to start a 16-2 run heading into the halftime break.
Hampton guard Akim Mitchell is the younger brother of former Virginia standout Akil Mitchell, who currently plays for the Long Island Nets of the NBA G League. . Hampton begins its final MEAC conference season in January before joining the Big South on July 1. . The teams' last meeting came in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, with top-seeded Virginia winning 81-45. . Virginia is 28-0 all-time against the MEAC, while Hampton is 1-16 against ACC opposition, with the lone win coming against No. 19 North Carolina in 2001.
Hampton visits Texas Rio Grande Valley on Dec. 30 for its final nonconference game.
Virginia opens ACC play at home against Boston College on Dec. 30. The Eagles are a surprising 1-0 in conference play following an 89-84 victory over No. 4 Duke on Dec. 9.
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