Virginia head coach Tony Bennett felt his team had three good days of practice heading into Monday's game at Tennessee.
But the results hardly showed that as the Cavaliers were never in the game, as they trailed by 22 points at halftime and lost 87-52 to the Volunteers in Knoxville.
"That was very humbling, for sure," Bennett said after the game. "They took it to us in every way. We move on. But we have to stay together. That is the only thing you can do."
Virginia now has three days of practice to get ready for an ACC game on Saturday at Florida State.
"We know how good Florida State is and how well they play," Bennett said. "We have to improve from this. We have three days of preparation for Florida State. We (were) brought to our knees."
And they were humbled by an unlikely source as Josh Richardson of Tennessee entered Monday's game against Virginia averaging just 7.6 points per contest. But the 6-foot-6 swing player was swept up in a night of hot-shooting Volunteers.
Richardson had 15 points in the first half and ended up with 20, as he made all four of his shots from 3-point range and eight of nine from the field. The Volunteers made eight of their first 11 shots from long range and ended the night hitting 11 of 18 shots from behind the arc.
"We got thoroughly outplayed in every area," said Bennett, in his fifth season in Charlottesville. "We knew they were very physical. They have not shot the ball that well (before Monday)."
"They didn't miss when they had looks," he added. "We could not get stops. Tennessee certainly has talent. We really did a poor job in every area. Their inside guys were way too physical (against us). We were way too slow on traps; we knew we had to trap. If your defense goes (poorly), this is the result."
The Cavaliers (9-4), who entered the game second in the country in scoring defense, were paced by guard Justin Anderson with 11 points. Forward Mike Tobey added 10 points and seven rebounds for Virginia and forward Akil Mitchell had nine rebounds for the Cavs. Guard Joe Harris, the leading scorer this season for Virginia, was held to seven points.
Tennessee, which never trailed, kept on humming in the second half and led 69-43 after a 7-0 run. The lead was 79-47 after a dunk by guard Jordan McRae with about 5:00 left.
McRae had 21 points and five assists, forward Jarnell Stokes had 20 points and five rebounds and Baltimore product Antonio Barton added 14 points for the Volunteers, who improved to 8-4 overall.
Tennessee entered the game hitting about 67 percent of its free-throw attempts but they made 22 of 25 against Virginia, which like Tennessee had not played a game in the previous six days.
The Volunteers made 50 percent of their shots from the field, while Virginia connected on just 32.7 percent of its field-goal tries. The Cavaliers were only outrebounded by two at 35-33 but it hardly mattered as the visitors were just two of 12 from 3-point range. Tennessee, which commits less than 10 turnovers per contest, made just six on Monday while Virginia committed 12.
Tennessee was also making about 31 percent of its 3-point tries before Monday but the Vols were hot from downtown on a chilly night in eastern Tennessee.
The Cavaliers had a few days off for Christmas before they returned to practice on Friday. "We worked hard for three days," Bennett said before the game. But it did not matter for the Cavaliers, playing just their second true road game of the season.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun