CHARLOTTESVILLE, DEC. 9 -- The three-guard lineup of the Virginia Cavaliers passed its first major test on defense tonight, and John Johnson took charge of the offense as Virginia took a 17-point halftime lead and cruised to a 69-50 victory over Dayton before 6,803 at University Hall.

It was the Cavaliers' 1,000th basketball victory and the 275th for Terry Holland in his 14-year tenure as coach.

The Flyers' 6-foot-6, 215-pound Anthony Corbitt, who entered the game averaging 16 points on 55 percent shooting, presented the first physical mismatch at small forward for Virginia's 6-3 Richard Morgan. But the Cavaliers (4-1) countered with a packed-in zone, a diamond-and-one at times and constant full-court pressure, none of which Dayton (3-1) handled well.

"We had to throw a few change-ups at them," Morgan said. "I knew once {Corbitt} got it low, there wasn't much I could do but try to bother him . . . I was surprised they didn't go to him more."

Corbitt took just two shots in the decisive first half as the Flyers made 10 of 23 shots, mostly wide-open jumpers against the zone. To start the game, the chaser in Virginia's diamond-and-one was on Negele Knight, and the Dayton point guard didn't take a shot for nearly six minutes and never seemed in sync offensively, even after the Cavaliers reverted their defensive attention to Corbitt.

"They just wouldn't let us get into our offense," Corbitt said.

The Cavaliers turned to Johnson, and the senior point guard came through early and often. Coming off a 22-point, seven-assist performance against Connecticut Sunday, Johnson again was dominant when Virginia needed him to be.

"The second half of the Connecticut game really got me in the habit of just taking it on offense," Johnson said. "I tried to be aggressive, and the shots were falling."

Two first-half scoring droughts by the Flyers helped Virginia build the big advantage. After Corbitt's free throw gave Dayton a 3-2 lead, the Cavaliers went on a 9-0 run in the next three minutes sparked by a Johnson three-pointer and two driving layups by John Crotty, who finished with 16 points.

The Cavaliers steadily built the lead behind the playmaking of Johnson, who hit five of nine shots in the half for 12 of his 16 points.

The Flyers cut the lead to 16 on several occasions in the second half, but their mistakes did them in.