Third-ranked Virginia needed five minutes--about 2 1/2 minutes at the beginning of each half--to beat Clemson, 89-68, in an Atlantic Coast Conference game today.
The Cavaliers (16-1 overall, 4-1 in the ACC), took a 10-2 lead and, after Clemson cut it to 41-36 at halftime, scored the first nine points of the second half. Clemson (8-5, 1-4) came no closer than seven points thereafter.
Virginia, which shot 65 percent from the floor during the game and 74 percent in the second half, had four players in double figures: Ralph Sampson (22), freshman Tim Mullen (15), freshman Jim Miller (14) and Jeff Jones 12. Fred Gilliam led Clemson with 12 points.
"We haven't spurted out at all," Clemson Coach Bill Foster said. "We've talked to our kids about it, but you can sing that song too much and then they get worried about it if they miss their first couple of shots."
Fouls hurt the Tigers as much as poor shooting (41 percent from the floor). Fifty-five fouls were called, 33 on Clemson. The Tigers made 12 of 16 foul shots, Virginia 27 of 41.
"It's hard to get your rhythm going (when so many fouls are called)," Foster said. "Every time I turned around they were sitting on the line."
Virginia's first-half lead reached 11 with 8:36 left and ranged between six and 10 before the Tigers finished the half with a 6-1 spree to cut it to five.
"We didn't get good ball movement in the first half, and we were concerned about that," Virginia Coach Terry Holland said. "In the first half we made some shots, but they weren't good shots."
In the second half the Cavaliers missed only six of 23 shots.
"When they started coming back (in the first half), we rushed our half-court offense a little bit," Jones said. "In the second half we changed sides of the floor and got some easy baskets."
The Tigers remained in contention at 53-46 with 15:35 left, but Virginia then scored eight straight points and the lead never again dipped below 10.
"I thought the whole game we attacked well offensively," Holland said. "I didn't realize we made that many shots (in the second half)."
Foster, who started sophomore Mike Eppley and freshman Milan Belich for the first time today, wasn't displeased with his team. "That effort would've beaten a lot of people," he said. "Just not Virginia.
"Virginia is a better team than last year. They are much stronger defensively and Sampson does more things. They press more and give you more defensive looks. And they are much quicker."
The game was Virginia's third in four days, but the Cavaliers won't play again until Wednesday, when they play at George Washington.