No. 15 Virginia, Kent St. clash for first time since 1974

·3 min read

Twelve different players have already scored for No. 15 Virginia through three games, with six reaching double figures at least once.

The well-balanced Cavaliers (2-1) will look to attack Kent State (1-0) in waves when they meet in nonconference play Friday in Charlottesville, Va.

Virginia has so much depth and had such a big lead in Tuesday's win against Saint Francis (Pa.), coach Tony Bennett said he "kind of did the hockey shifts" to rotate players in and out of the lineup.

"I don't think I've ever been on a team with this many (quality) players," said senior center Jay Huff, presumably including the 2018-19 national championship team.

"That's really cool because we get to see a lot of guys, a lot of combinations," Huff said. "We just get to see how different guys work. Learning to play with everybody is something that we're going to have to figure out, and I think we're learning how to do that. We have a really young team. We have a lot of young guys that haven't necessarily been here as long as an old man like me."

The 7-foot-1 Huff scored 13 points, 6-11 redshirt freshman Kadin Shedrick added 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds, and transfers Sam Hauser (11) and Trey Murphy III (10) also reached double digits in the 76-51 win over the Red Flash.

The game wasn't really that close, as Virginia led 21-4 early, 45-13 at halftime and 62-20 with about 14 minutes left before taking its foot off the gas.

Hauser leads the Cavaliers in scoring (13.3) and rebounding (6.7), with Murphy averaging 11.7 points per game and Huff contributing 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks.

Virginia and Kent State are meeting for just the second time, with the first meeting happening in 1974.

The Flashes finally opened their season Wednesday with a 90-41 victory against visiting Point Park in Kent, Ohio. Their first two scheduled games against Alcorn State and Purdue Fort Wayne were either canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 issues.

Kent State finished 20-12 last season, including a 9-9 mark in the Mid-American Conference. It was the sixth 20-win campaign in coach Rob Senderoff's first nine seasons with the program.

Senior forward Danny Pippen, who averaged 14.3 points and 7.1 boards in 2019-20, was named to the preseason All-MAC second team. He is the only returning starter on a team without much experience.

In Wednesday's win against the Pioneers, Portland State transfer Mike Nuga scored a game-high 17 points, Gabe O'Neal had 15 and Pippen and Jeremiah Hernandez each scored 13.

Pippen played 24 minutes in his first game since undergoing knee surgery last March.

"We all know that Danny's going to play with passion, he's going to compete, he's going to give it his all," Senderoff told the Record-Courier before the game. "That's how he needs to lead as well."

The Flashes dominated on the glass with a 55-28 rebounding margin. They outscored the Pioneers 62-12 in the paint, 30-7 in points off turnovers and 26-5 in fastbreak points.

--Field Level Media