With no fans in attendance, atmosphere at John Paul Jones Arena is ‘different’

With no fans in attendance, atmosphere at John Paul Jones Arena is ‘different’
Reece Beekman, in front of cardboard cutouts of fans at JPJ. (Source: UVA Athletics)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The 15th ranked Virginia men’s basketball team will be playing a team from the MAC for the first time since 2003 on Friday, as UVA hosts Kent State.

The Cavaliers have been dominant against non-conference opponents at John Paul Jones Arena under head coach Tony Bennett, with a record of 80-and-7.

But it’s not the same this year.

The crowd is limited to just 250 people, and only family of the players or coaches.

The ‘Hoos got their first taste of the new atmosphere at JPJ, including cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands, in their win against Saint Francis on Tuesday.

“It’s different,” says Bennett. “It’s so different. I think we’ve made this place so special, and so alive. Now it has to be about between the lines, and bringing energy, and bringing execution. There’s familiarity because you’re practicing here, but as far as crowd home court advantage? No more.”

UVA and Kent State tip-off on Friday at 6 p.m.

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