Senior Tim Mullen scored 16 points and handed out 10 assists to lead Virginia to a 72-60 victory over Loyola of Baltimore in the first round of the United Virginia Invitational basketball tournament tonight before 6,955 at University Hall.
The Cavaliers (2-1) will play Richmond for the tournament championship at 9 p.m. Saturday. Richmond, with guards John Newman and Kelvin Johnson each scoring 20 points, defeated Division II Tampa, 68-59, tonight. Loyola and Tampa will play in the consolation game at 7.
"It was obvious that Tim Mullen was crucial for us out there tonight," said Cavaliers Coach Terry Holland. "Sometimes it's hard for a big man to handle the ball against a smaller, aggressive team like Loyola, but Tim did that, got the ball to the right person and was able to score himself."
Mullen was forced into a ballhandling role early when freshman point guard John Johnson picked up two fouls. The 6-foot-5 Mullen responded with seven assists as Virginia took a 41-33 halftime lead.
Jimmy Miller scored 14 points for Virginia, Olden Polynice 13 and Tom Sheehey 11. Maurice Hicks led all scorers with 23 points for the Greyhounds (1-1).
Sophomore center Polynice scored Virginia's first three points, blocked a shot and drew a charge in the game's first 2 1/2 minutes. Polynice finished the half with nine points.
The Greyhounds made eight of their first 12 shots for a 17-17 tie with 12:26 to play in the half. Hicks, a senior guard, entered the game and hit his first five shots, four from long range, to keep Loyola close.
But midway through the half, the Cavaliers began to solve the Greyhounds' man-to-man defense, earning easy layups against their shorter opponents. At one point, 12 consecutive Cavaliers points came on layups.
From the 17-17 tie, Virginia outscored Loyola, 24-12, to take a 41-29 lead, its largest of the half, with 1:25 to play. Miller, Mullen and reserve Mel Kennedy each had six points in the run.
At intermission, Miller and Mullen led Virginia with 10 points apiece; Hicks had 12 for Loyola.
Despite Loyola's poor shooting early in the second half, Virginia could not put away the Greyhounds. The Greyhounds, who hit just seven of 25 shots after their hot start in the first half, missed six of their first 10 to start the final period and trailed, 47-42.
But the Cavaliers scored the next nine points to take a 56-42 lead with 11 minutes left. Again, Virginia worked for good shots, getting baskets inside from Miller and Sheehey on the set offense and fast-break scores from Sheehey and Mullen.