CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Mike Tobey showed again what a jolt of confidence can do for his productivity, just in time for Atlantic Coast Conference play.
The 7-foot senior scored 16 points, more than he had in his last five games combined, and was part of two runs that helped No. 5 Virginia pull away from pesky Oakland for its 10th consecutive victory, 71-58.
It was a far cry from the former starter whose confidence drooped as he tallied two points in three of his last four games, and went scoreless in the fourth while playing just 6 minutes.
“It felt really good. My teammates have been real supportive and just helping me get through the hum of not playing as much as I would like to play, but it felt good to get a good one in tonight,” he said.
Tobey was 7 for 8 from the field and added seven rebounds in 19 minutes.
The Cavaliers open their ACC schedule at home on Saturday against Notre Dame.
Anthony Gill and London Perrantes scored eight points each during a 24-7 run to open the second half that put the Cavaliers in command, and while both are regular scoresheet contributors for Virginia, Tobey has been a sometimes frustrating four-year enigma.
But he started his night with a putback dunk, and then an alley-oop dunk on a pass from Darius Thompson, and was off.
“It was awesome,” Gill said. “We’ve kind of been waiting on it and we know he has it in him. It’s up to him just to go out there and do it. When he’s like that, it’s hard to beat us because we have another big guy down there that can really score the ball or cause other problems.”
Gill led the Cavaliers (11-1) with 17 points, and Malcolm Brogdon had 12.
Kay Felder, the nation’s No. 3 scorer with a 26.6 average, had 30 on 10 for 22 shooting to lead the Golden Grizzlies.
Oakland (8-5) arrived with a reputation as a dangerous team, having won at Washington and then taken No. 1 Michigan State to overtime in a 99-93 loss, but after trailing 29-28 at halftime, the Golden Grizzlies were no match once Virginia got its offense going.
Its defense also forced eight turnovers in the first 8 minutes while allowing just seven points.
“We really wanted to play their game and not play our game,” said Oakland coach Greg Kampe, who is in his 32nd season and whose team likes to get up and down the floor quickly and score quickly. “I thought if we played our game it wouldn’t go well.”
The Golden Grizzlies closed the half on a 7-0 burst to lead 29-28, but as the second half started, the Cavaliers clicked.
Gill scored inside, Perrantes followed a turnover with a 3-pointer and Brogdon followed another turnover with a free throw. A dunk by Gill made it 36-29 before Felder finally hit two free throws for Oakland. Another turnover led to a breakaway dunk for Gill, followed by a 3-pointer from Perrantes, and the Cavaliers built their lead as high as 22 points.
THREE FOR ME:
Virginia scoring leader Malcolm Brogdon has made six baskets in the last two games, all from 3-point range. He’s 6 for 9 from beyond the arc in victories against California and Oakland, but 0 for 13 from 2-point territory.
Oakland: Max Hooper came into the game having attempted 103 field goals, all 3-pointers. He’d made 46, or 44.7 percent. He tried eight shots at John Paul Jones Arena, all also from beyond the arc, and was Oakland’s second-leading scorer with nine points.
Virginia: Virginia entered play with the nation’s ninth-best scoring defense, allowing 59.2 points per game. The Golden Grizzlies’ 88.4 scoring average was fourth-best in the country. … New Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall got a loud cheers when introduced at halftime. They got louder when he told the crowd, “I only know winning football, and I don’t know what it’s like to be home in the holidays.” Mendenhall led BYU to 11 straight bowl games.
Oakland plays Cleveland State at home on Saturday.
Virginia plays Notre Dame at home on Saturday.
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