ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — Mike Scott scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Joe Harris played strong down the stretch Saturday to lift Virginia to a 49-35 win over Drexel in the Paradise Jam.
Harris scored seven of his 12 points in the final 5:20 of the game.
“(We were shaper defensively with the post trap and making it hard for them to score,” said Virginia coach Tony Bennett. “That was a physical game. Drexel is a very tough-minded team. It was kind of the first to 31 (points) in that one.”
Frantz Massenat led Drexel with 12 points. Samme Givens added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Virginia (3-1) advanced to the losers’ bracket finals on Monday against the Drake-Winthrop winner. Drexel (1-2) will take on the loser of that game on Monday at 1 p.m.
The Cavaliers held Drexel to just 26-percent shooting (14 of 54).
In the second half, Virginia’s Assane Sene broke a long scoring drought with an inside hook shot. Harris then hit a 3-pointer, a jumper and hit two free throws to boost the lead to 40-31. Scott hit eight second half free throws to secure the win.
For the second straight game Drexel, predicted to finish first in the CAA this season, started the contest off slow. The Dragons, who didn’t make their first field goal until over seven minutes had elapsed in their loss to Norfolk State on Friday, went over eight minutes without a bucket against Virginia. Drexel, missing leading scorer Chris Fouch (knee injury), had just four first-half field goals and trailed 28-14 at the break.
“Both teams made it an ugly game,” said Drexel coach Bruiser Flint. “They did a great job on us in the first half and they capitalized on some of our turnovers, too… I knew they were a good defensive team. I told my team that we needed to be ready for that and in the first half we really weren’t.”
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