CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Maryland-Eastern Shore's play in the first half against No. 23 Virginia gave Hawks coach Frankie Allen hope that his team might give the Cavaliers a game.
That all vanished very quickly once the second half began.
Mike Scott scored 10 of his 17 points during a 12-point spurt early in the second half and No. 23 Virginia overcame a sluggish start to beat the Hawks 69-42 on Tuesday night.
"We did feel good about that," Allen said of the 30-20 halftime deficit, which they cut to 30-23 on Hillary Haley's 3-pointer to start the second-half scoring. "But they have the ability to just turn it up a notch in the second half. They went to their second, third gear."
Scott, who had all his points in 15 minutes, had a lot to do with it.
So did Virginia's defense, which held the Hawks to 27.8 percent shooting.
"I wasn't sure we were going to score 40 points," said Allen, who played his high school ball in Charlottesville and his college ball at Roanoke College, about two hours away. "They just defend you. That's what they hang their hat on."
Haley led the Hawks with 11 points and Ronald Spencer had nine.
Darion Atkins added 13 points and Joe Harris had 10 for Virginia, which is off to an 11-1 start for the first time since the 2000-01 season. The Cavaliers were playing their first game since KT Harrell and redshirt freshman James Johnson announced they were transferring.
It hardly mattered against the Hawks (3-10).
Haley started the second half with a 3-pointer for UMES, but Scott hit a 12-foot jumper and a layup off a feed from Sammy Zeglinski. After Jontel Evans' driving layup, Scott had a breakaway dunk, another basket and a layup after some highlight reel passing. On the play, Zeglinski fed Joe Harris, who made a touch pass to Scott for the easy lay-in, making it 42-23
The big attraction the rest of the game was the play of freshman Paul Jesperson. Virginia planned to redshirt the sharpshooter from Merrill, Wis., but no longer has that luxury after losing Harrell, who had started five games, and Johnson, in the two days before Christmas.
Jesperson was cheered every time he reported to the scorer's table, and drew one of the loudest roars of the night with 10 minutes left when he made a 3-pointer from the right corner off an inbound pass. Moments later, he was called for charging on a driving layup try.
He finished with five points, and walk-on guard Doug Browman also drew a huge roar when he made a 3-pointer late.
Virginia came out fast, scoring the first nine points. The Cavaliers also had an 11-5 run late in the first half to open the 30-20 lead.
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