What a difference a day – and 22 turnovers – can make.
One day after beating the Netherlands B team 89-62 in the first game of their tour through Europe, the Virginia Cavalier fell to the same team 82-73 thanks in part to 22 turnovers.
Junior forward Joe Harris led the Cavalier with 23 points and point guard Jontel Evans added 14 to go along with six assists, but the turnovers combined with Netherlands’ improved shooting proved to be too much to overcome.
“First, credit that team; those are a little more mature, grown men that had their pride wounded (yesterday),” said head coach Tony Bennett in the school release.
“They out-physicaled us. They were so ready, and they really took it to us and shot at an incredible clip. But we couldn’t match their intensity or just their ability to do what they wanted. They imposed their will on us; we didn’t do much.”
Virginia got off to a good start, scoring the first nine points of the game, but the Dutch answered with a 9-1 run to get back into the contest.
Stefan Mladenovic and Gerald Robinson scored 15 points apiece to lead the Netherlands, whose were up by as many as 20 points (66-46 at the end of the third) before Virginia made a run in the fourth.
The trip, which continues in Belgium, is the first step in addressing life without All-ACC forward Mike Scott and guard Sammy Zeglinski.
According to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers (subscription needed), Scott accounted for 29.7% of Virginia’s offensive possessions, and with Harris ranking second on the team in that category (21.1%) he’s the most likely player to become a primary offensive option.
But are there other players who can step up? Evans played well for much of last season and can be one of the better point guards in the ACC, and center Mike Tobey gives them an offensive threat at the position that the Cavaliers haven’t had.
Sophomore Malcolm Brogdon missed the end of last season with a foot injury, but both he and freshman Justin Anderson will also factor into things offensively for the Cavaliers.
Losing Scott is a big loss, but while Virginia may not have one player who can step into that role they do have multiple players who can help carry the load.
Virginia returning to the NCAA tournament will depend on whether or not those players can do so on a consistent basis.