Aug. 13, 2012
The Virginia men's basketball team continued its European Tour with a 71-67 loss to AMW Team France, a collection of French professionals, including Kevin Seraphin of the Washington Wizards. The Cavaliers led for the first three quarters, but were outscored 22-16 in the final period as the hosts pulled out the victory.
The Cavaliers had balanced scoring as all five starters scored at least nine points. Joe Harris (Chelan, Wash.), Akil Mitchell (Charlotte, N.C.) and Mike Tobey (Monroe, N.Y.) all scored 12 points to lead the team. Mitchell also grabbed 11 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double. Jontel Evans (Hampton, Va.) had 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds and Paul Jesperson (Merrill, Wis.) scored nine points. Darion Atkins (Clinton, Md.) added eight points off the bench.
"We were more competitive and that's our only chance," said head coach Tony Bennett. "If they don't figure that out, then we're not a smart team. They got to have the ability to get people to play against us at a set defense and make people work, because the last couple outings, for the majority of the game, weren't even close. And even offensively, we were in such a hurry and so flustered. We were a little more patient [tonight]. We moved the ball, we took care of it better, so it was a step in the right direction, and we had certainly our chances to win."
Virginia opened the game strong, going on a 9-1 run over the first four minutes. They extended that lead to 21-6 with 2:00 to play before a 6-0 AMW run cut the advantage to 21-12 after one quarter.
The Cavaliers retained their lead throughout the second quarter and took a 36-30 lead into halftime. Harris led Virginia in the first half with seven points, while Mitchell, Atkins and Tobey all scored six first-half points.
Virginia opened the third quarter on a 13-6 run to take a 13-point lead at 49-36 with 4:38 to play in the period. That is when there was controversy. AMW rolled off 11 straight points to get back into the game. During that run, the official scorer credited AMW with an additional basket to make it a 13-0 run to tie the game. Although presented with evidence that the basket didn't occur, the official scorer wouldn't correct the score and the game officials stated they could not overrule the official scorer. Tied at 49-49 late in the period, Evan Nolte's (Milton. Ga.) layup in the final seconds gave Virginia a 51-49 lead after three periods.
AMW went on an 8-2 run to open the fourth quarter to take the lead. They held that lead until Jesperson hit a 3-pointer with 1:25 remaining to give Virginia a 67-66 lead. Ferdinand Prenola answered with an old-fashioned 3-point play as the hosts retook the lead 69-67. The Cavaliers twice had possessions to tie or take the lead in the final minute, but the final possession resulted in an AMW steal and a layup as time expired.
"I understand when you come here, you're going to get some questionable officiating -- I can handle that," said Bennett. "But what I don't appreciate is when they take two points away from us. Two points in a game like that, that changes the whole game, and that's frustrating, because we were there for the win, and that's just not the way you do it. I don't care if you're international or in the States, you gotta keep the right score. But it's a mistake, it was done, and I just want our guys to understand what the blueprint is for us to play competitive basketball."
Giovan Oniangue led AMW Team France with 14 points, while Andrew Albicy and Prenola each had 13 points off the bench.
The Cavaliers conclude their European trip on Tuesday as they have a rematch with AMW Team France at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin. Game time is 8:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. ET).
AMW TEAM FRANCE 71, VIRGINIA 67
Virginia 21 15 15 16 - 67
AMW Team France 12 18 19 22 - 71
Virginia AMW Team France
Mitchell (F) 12 (11 reb) Oniangue (F) 14
Harris (G) 12 (6 reb) Gailloux (G) 5
Tobey (C) 12 (1 reb) Diabate (G) 3
Evans (G) 10 (7 asst) Cisse (F) 2
Jesperson (G) 9 (3 reb) Kozan (C) 0
Atkins 8 (4 reb) Albicy 13
Anderson 2 (1 reb) Prenola 13
Nolte 2 (4 reb) Aboudou 9
Barnette 0 (3 reb) Ada 6
Phantom Basket 2
Technical Foul: AMW Team France Bench (1)