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Singletary, Diane lead Virginia to upset over Arizona

Nov 13, 2006 - 2:59 AM CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (Ticker) -- Inspired second-half play by Sean Singletary and Mamadi Diane allowed Virginia to christen its new arena with a victory.

The talented duo combined for 29 points after halftime as the Cavaliers fought back from a 13-point halftime deficit to clip 10th-ranked Arizona, 93-90, in the season opener for both teams.

After playing 41 years at University Hall, 15,219 fans went home happy in the first game at John Paul Jones Arena.

"On a night like this, I couldn't be any prouder to be the coach of this basketball program and the guys that are in it," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said. "Believe it or not, it's been a very trying few days, just trying to focus in on the game in what was an event."

Diane finished with a career-high 25 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 5-of-6 from the arc.

"Diane is a good player," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "We knew that he could shoot. He's a good athlete. Five-of-6 from the 3-point line, you don't expect that he's that good a shooter. Some of those were taken under pretty good pressure, but other times he had open looks."

Singletary also cashed in for 25 points, although he shot just 5-of-14. The standout junior made 13-of-14 free throws and added six assists.

"Playing 37 minutes and cramping up and only turning the ball over once - it speaks to who he is," Leitao said of Singletary. "And to only have 11 turnovers for the game as a team. You can't keep turning the ball over. They're too good and they make you pay. That I thought was a big key to the game."

After shooting just 35 percent (12-of-34) in the first half and falling behind by 16 points, Virginia went into the locker room trailing, 49-36.

"At the under four-minute timeout, I told the team that if we can try to win these last four minutes, cut it to somewhere around 10, it would be manageable," Leitao said. "Arizona is a high possession team. They don't work the shot clock, so if you don't lose your patience, I thought we were going to have enough possessions to make a run."

But led by Singletary, the Cavaliers took the floor much more aggressive in the second half.

Diane hit a trio of 3-pointers and Singletary scored 10 points, including two free throws that pulled the Cavaliers into a 68-68 tie with 11:04 remaining.

"We came out sluggish, but in the second half, everyone picked it up and everyone contributed," Diane said. "We played hard and it's a great win, but we still realize it is only the first game of the season."

Another 3-pointer by Diane gave the Cavaliers an 80-79 lead with just under six minutes left. His two free throws provided an 84-82 lead with 4:11 to go that gave the Cavaliers a lead they did not relinquish.

Two free throws by Singletary increased the bulge to 91-85 with 1:38 left, but a 3-pointer from the left corner by Ivan Radenovic halved the deficit with 83 seconds left.

But Singletary responded, driving the lane and dishing to Diane, who swished a floater from the left baseline for a 91-86 lead with 56 seconds left.

"I have been working really hard all offseason just like everybody else," Diane said. "We have all been working hard, but tonight I just happened to be in the right places at the right times, and the team kept finding me in open spots."

Four free throws by Mustafa Shakur over the next 44 seconds pulled Arizona within 92-90, but R.J. Reynolds split a pair of free throws and Arizona's J.P. Prince backrimmed a wide-open 3-pointer from the left wing as time expired.

Jason Cain had 13 points and 12 rebounds and J.R. Reynolds added 10 points off the bench for his 25th straight double-digit scoring game.

Radenovic scored 14 of his 24 points in the second half.

"I thought Radenovic played extremely well; he played like a senior should play," Olson said. "He did a nice job in all phases for us. So we had some positive things. Tough game to open with, but I'm sure we'll be better off from what we can learn from watching the tapes."

Marcus Williams had 18 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with three minutes left. Jawann McClellan also scored 18 and freshman Chase Budinger added 17.

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