No. 8 Virginia cruises past UNC Greensboro 76-51 in opener

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) Marial Shayok scored 15 points and No. 8 Virginia ran off a 22-0 run to beat UNC Greensboro 76-51 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

Darius Thompson added 12 points for the Cavaliers, who shot 52 percent from the field and made 8 of 16 3-point attempts. Meanwhile the defense — the bedrock of Tony Bennett's program — held the Spartans scoreless for more than 11 minutes spanning halftime as the game turned into a methodical rout.

It was a welcome first step for a team that lost a lot of production from its first trip to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight since 1995.

Francis Alonso scored 14 points for UNCG, which shot 37 percent. It marked the first time the program has hosted a ranked opponent in a season opener, though the Spartans ended up falling to 2-55 all-time against Atlantic Coast Conference teams.

BIG PICTURE

VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers were thin inside with Memphis junior transfer Austin Nichols out due to a violation of team rules, and redshirt freshman Mamadi Diakite sitting due to an NCAA review of his amateur status. That gave Bennett an extended look at some players who have spent time developing within Virginia's program. Of note: 6-foot-11 redshirt sophomore Jack Salt got the start and had seven points in 27 minutes as he tries to earn steady rotation minutes and provide interior depth this season.

UNCG: Picked to finish fifth in the Southern Conference, the Spartans quickly fell behind by double figures and made what amounted to only a 2-minute flurry of resistance. Hardly the start that sixth-year coach Wes Miller wanted from a team with four returning starters.

UP NEXT

VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers should get their first chance to integrate Nichols into the lineup Tuesday against St. Francis Brooklyn.

UNCG: The Spartans play at home Monday against Presbyterian.

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