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Jesperson, Mitchell provide spark for Cavaliers

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Originally Posted on The Daily Progress

While there were several things that Virginia coach Tony Bennett was agitated by following his team’s 18-point victory over Morgan State on Wednesday night — namely a few flimsy defensive stretches and some sloppy ballhandling — he liked certain things that he saw out of Paul Jesperson and Akil Mitchell.

Jesperson had a career-high 11 points, while Mitchell registered a career-high seven assists.

With the game tied at 21 in the first half, Jesperson sparked a 15-0 run by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers. In the second half, the sophomore took a nice feed from Mike Tobey and scored on a left-handed drive to the basket.

Late in the game, with Morgan State refusing to go away, Jesperson drained another 3-pointer — off a nice kick-out from Mitchell — to give Virginia a comfy 20-point lead with less than three minutes to play.

Jesperson finished 4 of 5 from the field, including 3 of 4 from downtown. He also had three rebounds, an assist and only one turnover in his 30 minutes of action.

“We needed that because Joe [Harris] went off [with foul trouble] and we were struggling,” Bennett said. “I thought Paul did a nice job. I thought for a while he was even OK guarding [Dewayne] Jackson, but then there was a lot of space and he started making plays against us.

“But Paul was sharp and we leaned on him, and he kind of got us out of that funk that we were in.” Continue Reading

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