March 16, 2007
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -Flat on his back after a hard foul, J.R. Reynolds figured he might as well give it a shot.
Why not? Everything else was going in.
The high-scoring guard with a balky hip made shots from everywhere on the court Friday - including a just-for-fun fling from his back - while leading Virginia to an 84-57 victory over Albany in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
"When you get it going like that ..." Reynolds said sheepishly, referring to his on-the-back bank shot. "That was a tough shot."
Everything came easy for the Cavaliers (21-10), who advanced in the South Regional with their first tournament win since 1995, when they reached the final eight. It was their most lopsided win in 37 NCAA tournament games.
They also answered their biggest question for March: Could half of a dangerous guard tandem deliver when it matters most?
Ignoring his sore hip, Reynolds responded with 28 points over a defense that had no chance once he got the ball in his hands. His most impressive shot didn't even count.
The senior went down hard after he was fouled while driving to the basket with 4:21 left in the first half and the game already well in hand. About 10 feet from the hoop, he decided to let one fly for fun and banked it in cleanly.
Albany (23-10) had never seen anything like it.
"I thought that Virginia played as well as they could play," Albany coach Will Brown said. "Their guards were terrific, as good as advertised."
Reynolds (17.8 points per game) and point guard Sean Singletary (18.9 per game) form one of the nation's most prolific backcourts. Lately, things haven't been so smooth. A sore hip knocked Reynolds out of his shooting rhythm as the season wound down, and threw the Cavaliers for a loop, too.
In his last three games, Reynolds went 3-of-15, 3-of-14 and 3-of-15 from the field. No coincidence that Virginia lost two of the three, leaving the Cavaliers unsure what to expect in the tournament.
Reynolds got his shot back in sync during practice leading up to the tournament, and stayed in form even when he got knocked around.
"When you go on the court, you can't feel any pain," he said. "You don't want to let the guys down."
The first time he was in position to shoot, he took a baseline jumper that cleared a defender's hand and swished, making the Cavaliers feel a whole lot better about their chances.
His next three shots were 3-pointers - two of them rattled and went down - followed by a driving bank shot. Another long 3, a driving left-handed layup, a short jumper ... he was on a roll.
"That really gets our energy going," Singletary said. "When a guy's going like that, there's no option but to keep going to him and ride the hot hand as long as you can."
They rode the momentum all game. The Cavaliers pulled ahead 19-2 and were never seriously threatened by the Great Danes.
"No matter who you're playing, when you look up and you're down 20, it's a little bit of a shock," said Albany forward Brent Wilson, who had 13 points.
Reynolds made his first seven shots - four of them from behind the arc - and went 7-of-9 overall in the first half, piling up 23 points in only 17 minutes. He finished 9-of-13 from the field, 5-of-7 from behind the arc.
Virginia wasn't a one-man show. Singletary added 23 points and nine assists, marking the fourth time this season that both guards topped 20 points in a game. And the Cavaliers' collective defense dismantled an Albany team that brought a little swagger into its second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
The America East Conference champs gained distinction last year, when they made the tournament for the first time and, as a No. 16 seed, took mighty UConn to the limit. Huskies coach Jim Calhoun was so impressed that he later embraced Brown and told him: "You guys are special."
They returned to the tournament with senior guard Jamar Wilson, the conference's two-time player of the year, and a confidence bordering on brashness. They told everyone that they had packed enough clothes to spend the weekend in Columbus.
Wilson missed five of his first six shots, allowing Virginia to take control. He finished with 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting, but it wasn't nearly enough.
"We've been eating and sleeping (thinking about) the Virginia Cavaliers," Wilson said. "The fact of the matter is, they took us out of our game."
And sent them home with a lot of clean clothes.
'Hoos Head Into Finals on High NoteMen's Basketball12/7/16No. 14 Virginia, which defeated East Carolina on Tuesday night, doesn't play again until Dec. 17, when Robert Morris visits JPJ.'Hoos Learn Painful Lessons in LossMen's Basketball12/3/16No. 6 Virginia's 24-game winning streak at John Paul Jones Arena ended Saturday with a 66-57 loss to No. 25 West Virginia.Soccer Teams Turn Attention to 2017Men's Soccer12/2/16The Virginia men's and women's soccer teams are fixtures in their respective NCAA tournaments, and 2017 should bring more success for both.
Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
Jeff White: 'Hoos Head Into Finals on High Note
M. Basketball | 12/7/2016
No. 14 Virginia, which defeated East Carolina on Tuesday night, doesn't play again until Dec. 17,...
No. 14 Virginia bounces back, beats East Carolina 76-53
M. Basketball | 12/6/2016
Kyle Guy scored 13 points to lead five Virginia players in double figures, and the No. 14...
No. 14 UVA Hosts East Carolina on Tuesday
M. Basketball | 12/5/2016
No. 14 Virginia (7-1) hosts East Carolina (7-2) in in men’s basketball non-conference...
Jeff White: 'Hoos Learn Painful Lessons in Loss
M. Basketball | 12/3/2016
No. 6 Virginia's 24-game winning streak at John Paul Jones Arena ended Saturday with a 66-57 loss...
No. 6 Virginia Falls to No. 25 West Virginia, 66-57
M. Basketball | 12/3/2016
Darius Thompson scored 14 points to lead the Virginia Cavaliers (7-1). UVA will face East...
No. 6 UVA Entertains No. 25 West Virginia on Saturday
M. Basketball | 12/2/2016
No. 6 Virginia (7-0) hosts No. 25 West Virginia (5-1) in in men’s basketball non-conference...
Jeff White: Home-Court Advantage Pivotal Again
M. Basketball | 12/01/2016
No. 6 Virginia, which hosts No. 25 West Virginia on Saturday afternoon, has won 24 straight games...
Perrantes leads No. 6 UVA past Ohio State, 63-61
M. Basketball | 11/30/2016
London Perrantes scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and No. 7 Virginia overcame a...
- Online Stores