Virginia parlayed tight pressure defense and 29 points by Jeff Lamp to pound out a 93-78 triumph over Virginia Tech before a capacity crowd of 10,716 tonight at Richmond Coliseum.
The game, billed as the Super Bowl basketball game of Virginia, turned out to be more of an exhibition, the Charlottesville troupe doing most of the entertaining. UVa., winning its fourth straight and raising its record to 10-4, shot a brilliant 63 percent from the field (36 of 57) and 78 percent from the line (21 of 27).
Lamp, on a tear the last five games, used his five-inch height advantage over Tech defender Dexter Reid for many of his short jump shots and quick dashes to the bucket. The 6-foot-6 sophomore also drew a total of 13 fouls on Reid and his teammates and sank nine of nine from the stripe.
"I wasn't surprised Reid was on me. He would have problems with (Lee) Raker, too," said Lamp, referring to his 6-5 teammate who finished with 20 points.
Tech, which has lost four of its last five and is also 10-4, opened the game with a bang. Dale Solomon, a 6-8 jump shooting machine, and 6-9 1/2 Wayne Robinson threw the Cavaliers around in the early going to grab as much as a 10-point lead.
Solomon, despite the close guarding of both Steve Castellan and Terry Gates, sank six of his first seven shots, four in the first eight minutes to help the Hokies storm ahead. A steal and dunk by quick Les Henson gave Tech a 22-12 advantage with 11:55 left in the first half.
Robinson cut in front of Castellan and made another steal on Virginia's next possession but in his anxiety to show why he is the team's leader in dunks had the ball roll off his feet out of bounds.
The play either inspired Virginia or took the sting out of the Hokies. In any case, Tech became unnerved and its lead evaporated. Raker broke free for four baskets, Gates and Mike Owens added three points each and suddenly Virginia was within a basket, 28-26, with 5:41 left before intermission. To make matters worse, intimidator Robinson threw one elbow too many and went to the bench with three fouls.
A minute later, Gates followed up his own blocked shot to tie the contest at 30.
The rest of the half was a Virginia clinic. Lamp sparked a surge that produced 13 Cavalier points, four Hokie turnovers, three missed shots and a 43-33 Virginia lead at the half.
Lamp sank four free throws and a 15-foot turnaround jumper, Bobby Stokes made a slick steal and three-point play. Owens threw in a dunk and Castellan sank a 12-foot shot from the corner to climax the 13-3 blitz.
"That was the turning point of the game. We made those turnovers and they converted every one into points," said Tech Coach Charles Moir. "We had shot very well (14 of 25) and were even in reboudning (13-13) but those last six or seven minutes we just threw the ball away.
"We tried to gamble in the second half but they got a few cheap baskets. We came within six a couple of times but then we'd just trade baskets and you can't do that when you're 10 down," Moir added. "We tried to press a little but the fellows got a bit tired and the one thing we couldn't do was give up the easy baskets."
Virginia earned everything it got the second half. After teasing the Gobblers for the first 10 minutes of the period Lamp and Raker took control.
The pair from Louisville, averaging 22.9 and 16.2 points, respectively, accounted for 21 of 27 Virginia points during one stretch. They shot 15-footers, dashed down the lane for layups, tipped in baskets and sank free throws. The six points Lamp and Raker didn't make were 20-footers by Owens, who totaled 14 points.
"They weren't the best shots and I yelled, 'Oh, Mike, be careful,'" said Castellan, who combined with Gates to hold the high-scoring Solomon and Robinson to a total of 12 points in the final 20 minutes. "But he was on and he made them.
"We made a couple of adjustments against them (Solomon and Robinson) in the second half and they didn't get the ball as much. We wanted to get in front of him and make him work. If they could make the outside shots, well, fine. We were willing to give them that."
Solomon, who took only three shots the second half, said, "They sagged in on me more and the ball just didn't come in there."