If second-ranked Virginia was looking for a tuneup for its Sunday Super Bowl date against Ohio State, it found the perfect opponent in George Washington tonight.
The Cavaliers (15-0) toyed with the visitors much of the evening and enjoyed an easy 86-56 laugher before 9,000 at University Hall.UVa shot 50 percent from the field and easily outrebounded the shorter Colonials, 49-35.
Ralph Sampson and Jeff Lamp each scored 16 points and Lee Raker 15 as Virginia broke to a 25-point advantage at intermission. UVa raised its lead to 34 points early in the second half before Coach Terry Holland decided that enough was enough.
"Coming back from a road trip like that and just starting classes today, I thought we might have a few cobwebs, but we played hard," Holland said. "We shot well, moved the ball well and played good defense. We were conscious of getting off to a good start in case the delay game was in their plans. As it turned out, it was. That's why we went over the top to Ralph on that first play."
After consecutive road victories over ACC rivals Maryland, Georgia Tech and Clemson, the Cavs could be forgiven for taking one look at the Colonials and grinning. Even the big fellow, 7-foot-4 Sampson, appeared bored in the opening minutes. On UVA's first play, Sampson grabbed a lob, but his attempted two-hand tomahawk dunk clanged off the back of the rim and bounded high enough to bring rain.
The other Cavs were momentarily caught up in the frivolity of the evening, missing a few shots, and led, 5-0, before Holland shot them a nononsense glance.
UVa began an onslaught that ranks only with Custer's Land Stand. Raker bombed in four straight 18-footers, Lamp and Craig Robinson scored four of the easiest baskets they will ever get, and Sampson simply threw back in what his teammates missed.
"We didn't want to hold the ball we were just trying to get a few layups and get Sampson away from the basket," said GW coach Bob Tallent. "He did come outbut we missed our shots early and when you fall behind by 12 or 14 points your game plan is blown."
"As good as their players are individually, they always look inside first. We did a good job on Sampson. At least he didn't kill us," Tallent said. "But the other players didn't miss."
The Cavs didn't miss too many, hitting eight straight baskets at one point, and connecting on 19 of 34 in the first 20 minutes. Add UVA's 28-12 rebounding advantage and GW's inability to put together an attack and a romp was inevitable.
"We wanted to come out and play hard despite our seeming advantage against GW," said Raker. "We wanted to get a comfortable lead and not have to play the entire 40 minutes. You can't do that against everyone. We took out time and got a few good shots."
After a 10-1 spurt, UVA was rolling, 33-12, with 4:36 left before intermission. UVA continued to pour it on. Othell Wilson handed out three dandy assists, two leading to dunks by Sampson and Robinson.
Curtis Jeffries scored eight points for the bewildered Colonials, who suffered their fourth straight loss and are now 4-10, managed only eight field goals in 26 tries from the floor and went to the locker room trailing, 43-18, at the half.
"We didn't do that bad in the second half but we were so far behind," Tallent said. "Once you penetrate, you know Sampson is standing there. He's so big you can only do so much."
Lamp, Sampson and Raker helped Virginia run off a 14-6 blitz in the first three minutes after intermission for a commanding 55-22 lead. Over the next 10 minutes the score would have grown worse had not Colonial shooting guard Wilbert Skipper scored 20 points, 18 in a span of under 10 minutes.
But the damage had long been done and Virginia easily chalked up its 20th consecutive victory.