Baron on target in debut for Cavs

By Steve Yanda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 13, 2010


CHARLOTTESVILLE - There's a 3-minute 28-second video on YouTube entitled "The LongBall." It stars former Rhode Island guard Jimmy Baron and his long-range shooting ability. Virginia forward Mike Scott suggests everyone take a look. He did so on Wednesday before remarking to Cavaliers freshman guard Billy Baron that he would never be as good a shooter as his big brother.

After Virginia's 76-52 season-opening win over William & Mary on Friday night at John Paul Jones Arena, Billy Baron displayed the same poise in the face of digital recorders and television cameras as he had on the court moments earlier, when he made 5 of 6 three-point attempts and tallied a game-high 19 points in his collegiate debut.

So, Billy, will you be seeking out an apology from Scott?

"No comment," Baron said with a grin.

The final margin of victory was not indicative of how close the game was until the final 10 minutes. In fact, it wasn't until Baron sank a three-pointer with 10:32 remaining in the second half that Virginia held its first double-digit lead of the night.

Granted, this was not the type of doormat opponent major programs typically schedule for their regular season openers. William & Mary toppled two ACC teams on the road last season en route to a 22-11 record. The Tribe looks to spread out foes with three-point shooting and then attack the basket with back-door cuts.

One of those components was not functioning Friday night. William & Mary shot 26.9 percent (7 for 26) from beyond the arc. But the Tribe did find success funneling the ball into the lane, where Virginia's interior defense struggled at times.

"We knew that the strength of their team coming in was their three-point shooting, and we really tried to take that away and take away any easy looks at the rim," Virginia senior forward Will Sherrill said. "Most of the shots they got at the rim they kind of had to earn."

The Cavaliers held a one-point lead at halftime but steadily pulled away in the second half. On a night when five of Virginia's six scholarship freshmen logged minutes, the Cavaliers committed just eight turnovers. Scott recorded 18 points and nine rebounds, while freshman guard K.T. Harrell registered 13 points and five rebounds.

But it was Baron - who later acknowledged the immense source of inspiration his older brother provides - who helped cushion Virginia's advantage. At one point in the second half, he tallied 10 of the Cavaliers' first 11 points during a 13-0 run.

"He really gave us the spark we needed," second-year Virginia Coach Tony Bennett said. "You have to stick some outside shots against them, and he was a big lift for us. He's got that ability to stretch you, not just from the three-point line, but from a step or two back."

Baron said he spoke with his brother - who is playing professional basketball in Spain - before Friday night's game. He said he's watched Jimmy's YouTube video every day since it was created two years ago. Billy used to try to mimic Jimmy's shot, but he eventually decided to go his own way. So far, that approach has worked out for him.

"I was joking on him, just trying to get to him," Scott said of his friendly jabs at Baron. "He must have taken it to heart."

Cavaliers note: Bennett said after the game that his plan is to have freshman forward James Johnson redshirt this season.

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