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January 19, 2012

Cavs go off in Atlanta, rip Jackets

Mike Scott scored 18 points and Virginia (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) bounced back from a tough loss at Duke, blowing out Georgia Tech 70-38 on Thursday night.

The Cavaliers (15-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) were never seriously challenged by the Yellow Jackets, who put up their lowest-scoring game since a 53-38 loss to Wake Forest on Feb. 6, 1982, during Bobby Cremins' first season as coach.

Virginia was coming off a 61-58 defeat at Cameron Indoor Stadium that snapped a 12-game winning streak.

The Cavs wasted no time getting started on a new streak, taking advantage of a team that doesn't have a true home arena; Georgia Tech is playing at Philips Arena while its campus facility undergoes a major renovation.

Kammeon Holsey had 12 points to lead Georgia Tech (8-10, 1-3).

Virginia did have a setback late in the first half when senior center Assane Sene went down in a collision as Mfon Udofia sliced toward the hoop. Udofia drew a foul on Sene, who injured his right ankle and had to be helped to the locker room, his arms draped over two trainers. He didn't return to the game and it wasn't immediately known how long he might be out.

Sene's injury dampened the mood on an otherwise smooth night for the Cavaliers.

They trailed only once, 3-2 after Holsey converted a three-point play, and stretched the lead to 21-11 before the game was 10 minutes old.

Virginia held the Yellow Jackets to only two points during a span of nearly 6 minutes in the first half, a stretch that essentially decided the game. Georgia Tech made only 1 of 7 shots during that drought and never got the margin below double figures the rest of the way.

Led by Joe Harris and his 11 points, the Cavaliers went to the locker room in total control. They held Georgia Tech to 8-of-26 shooting (31 percent), outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 23-12 and turned it over only once.

Virginia kept it up in the second half, finishing 28 of 58 (48 percent) from the field. Harris finished with 16 points, while Sammy Zeglinski had 10.

Georgia Tech shot a dismal 29 percent (14 of 48) -- including 1 of 15 from 3-point range. Holsey was the only player in double figures.

The Cavaliers have taken command of the rivalry, winning five straight over the Yellow Jackets and six of the last seven. This trip also provided Virginia with a chance to get an advance look at Philips Arena, the home of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and site of this year's ACC tournament.

Virginia is off to its best start since beginning 15-2 during 1982-83: Ralph Sampson's senior year. This was the Cavaliers' largest margin against an ACC opponent since a 104-72 win over North Carolina State in 1991.

The Yellow Jackets lost for the sixth time in seven games. They have failed to reach 60 points four times during that slide, which has sent them tumbling toward a second straight losing season.

That was largely the expectation when Brian Gregory took over as coach from Paul Hewitt, who was fired after going 13-18 last season.


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