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UVa's Darion Atkins Ties JPJ Record with 5 Blocks against NIU - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVa's Darion Atkins Ties JPJ Record with 5 Blocks against NIU

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UVa forward, Darion Atkins, got his first start of the season in the Virginia men's basketball teams 57-43 win over Northern Iowa. Atkins hit a career high and broke a record doing what the Cavaliers do best - playing good defense.

Atkins tied the Virginia John Paul Jones Arena record with five blocked shots.

"I didn't know I had five blocks," said Atkins. "Wow. I haven't had one of those nights in a while."

Head coach Tony Bennett said, "Those were some athletic, acrobatic blocks that we certainly capitalized on."

Atkins, who started 12 games last season, made his first start of 2013 as the Cavaliers fifth year coach shook up the line-up. Bennett said, "I decided to go with that starting line-up because you know we kind of practiced that way the past few days. I said I'm gonna go with our experienced guys."

UVa's Joe Harris said, "Darion and Akil are easily our best post defenders but then again that comes because they are our most experienced post defenders."

On a team where defense comes first, blocks are the type of game changer Bennett likes to see. Bennett explained, "maybe your defense breaks down a little bit but when you have Darion back there, five blocks...That cleans up some mistakes you make. When those turn into a transition bucket, that was very timely for us."

Atkins made his 23 minutes on the hardwood count. On top of his career high five blocks, the 6-foot-8 forward scored eight points, six of which he spent hanging off the rim for dunks and grabbed five rebounds.

Harris said, "Darion provides a spark out there, blocking or altering shots or getting rebounds or setting good screens."

Darion said, "I came out tonight I was really excited and I played with confidence and I think it showed out there on the court...It motivates me in the right way. A positive way. Hopefully I can continue to have games like this and keep my spot."

 

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