Nov. 30, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Sophomore Justin Anderson (Montross, Va.) sparked a first-half comeback as Virginia posted an 83-63 win over Missouri State Saturday (Nov. 30) in the championship game of the Corpus Christi Challenge at American Bank Center.
Anderson scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the first half to lead the Cavaliers to their first tournament championship in the Tony Bennett era.
Tournament MVP Joe Harris (Chelan, Wash.) scored 15 points and Mike Tobey (Monroe, N.Y.) and Malcolm Brogdon (Norcross, Ga.) added 14 and 13 points, respectively. Jarmar Gulley and Gavin Thurman had 14 points each for the Bears who fell to 6-1.
“I thought we responded after a very sluggish start,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. “We have to have an edge to our play. I thought we played with some purpose offensively, too. We really shared the ball and moved hard.”
Missouri State jumped to an 11-3 advantage, but Anderson ignited Virginia’s comeback by scoring 17 points off the bench in the half. Anderson went 7-of-8 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, as Virginia finished the half on a 29-11 run. The Cavaliers started the game 1-of-7 from the floor, but finished the first stanza 14-of-25.
“Obviously, Justin was dialed in from long range,” Bennett added. “He’s got the ability to impact the game on both ends. He was really setting our tone defensively. He was a spark with those other guys and then he continued to play soundly the rest of the game.”
Anderson added six points in the second half and UVa continued its hot shooting by drilling 16-of-28 shots in the final 20 minutes. Virginia finished the game shooting 56.6 percent (30-of-53).
“Our energy was just a little low at the beginning of the game,” Anderson said. “I just wanted to bring some energy and life to our team, and I stepped up and shot the ball with confidence. We just got rolling and played like we knew how.”
Anthony Gill (High Point, N.C.) added eight points and a game-high eight rebounds to join Anderson and Harris on the all-tournament team.
UVa dominated the glass, outrebounding the Bears 38-22.
Virginia hosts Wisconsin in the 15th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday, Dec. 4. Tipoff at John Paul Jones Arena is set for 7 p.m.