UVa Off to its Best Start Since 1983 - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVa Off to its Best Start Since 1983

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UVa sophomore Justin Anderson UVa sophomore Justin Anderson

The Virginia men's basketball team is 6-1 in the ACC for the first time since 1983, after cruising by rival Virginia Tech 65-45 Saturday.  

The UVa defense is still among the best in the country, and are ranked 5th in the nation in scoring defense.  

But the offense has taken a big step forward, and is scoring at its highest output since Tony Bennett took over the team five years ago.

Senior guard Joe Harris says, "At this point in the season, with this start that we've hard in league play, I think we've played our best offense, and from coach's standpoint, the way that he wants to run the offense.  I think that's why he's happy with it, and I think that's why we've been having some success."

Head coach Tony Bennett adds, "Just because you've won a few, it shouldn't change the way you approach it, and how you play, and that's the message that I want them to keep understanding.  We have to play this way.  This is our way for us."

Senior Akil Mitchell says the strong start in conference play is a result of lessons learned from early season losses.

"We're lost games," says Mitchell.  "We know what it feels like to lose.  Now we believe in our system.  Now that we're playing well, everybody has really bought it."

While the Cavaliers are off to a strong start, they say there is still a long way to go.

Sophomore forward Anthony Gill says, "It feels good to win, but we still have to keep going, because we do have bigger goals in mind, and we want to keep pushing to achieve those goals."

Bennett says, "6-1, it means a lot to us, but that's a little more than a third of our conference season. So just keep plugging.  We said the season breaks into three parts:  Non-conference, conference, and postseason, and you just keep on trucking with that."

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