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Virginia clips Virginia Tech to continue title quest

Mar 2, 2007 - 7:07 AM CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (Ticker) -- Virginia continued rolling toward the postseason behind the shooting of Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds.

Singletary and Reynolds combined for 30 points as the No. 25 Cavaliers posted their 11th win in 13 games with a 69-56 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over intrastate rival No. 21 Virginia Tech.

The fourth and fifth-best scorers in the league, Singletary and Reynolds combined to shoot 5-of-8 on 3-pointers as Virginia (20-8, 11-4 ACC) remained in contention for its first conference title since the 1994-95 season, improving to 8-0 at home in ACC play.

"(I'm) just thankful that those two guys have grown," said Virginia coach Dave Leitao about Singletary and Reynolds. "I thought back to that first workout we had two Augusts ago when I first got here and not knowing if either one of them would make it through a two-hour workout. Now the combination of an undefeated conference season at home and how much they've been an inspiration to that, a part of that and grown from that."

Entering in a three-way tie for first place, the Cavaliers moved a game ahead of Virginia Tech and North Carolina, which absorbed an 84-77 loss at Georgia Tech on Thursday. The Cavaliers finish the regular season at Wake Forest on Saturday.

"It means a lot," Leitao said about being atop the ACC. "We have a chance on Saturday to do something very special. To do that would be meaningful to this program for where we're trying to go, but most important for the guys in the locker room because they work so hard." Virginia also avenged an 84-57 loss at Virginia Tech on February 10, improving to 5-1 in its last six games against its conference rival.

"I tried to play it down with the team, but obviously it lived in their mind set, their spirit," Leitao said of the revenge factor. "They brought in a very workman-like spirit today. I think that they really felt slighted last time we played them."

"We just didn't play well," Hokies coach Seth Greenberg said. "It's plain and simple. We didn't make the plays that we need to make to win a big game on the road."

Closing the opening half with a 16-5 run, the Cavaliers held a 36-28 lead at the break. That advantage was extended to 12 points in the opening moments of the second half following jumpers by Jason Cain and Mamadi Diane.

The Hokies (20-9, 10-5) attempted to rally, going on a 7-0 burst to close within 43-38 on a layup by Zabian Dowdell with 14:54 remaining.

Singletary, who finished with 17 points, answered with a jumper and later added five straight points to rebuild the lead to 56-42 with 11:01 remaining.

Reynolds had 13 points along with Diane for Virginia, which shot 63 percent (10-of-16) on 3-pointers and turned 10 turnovers by Virginia Tech into 17 points.

Cain added eight points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers, who notched their first 20-win season in six years and finished 16-1 in their inaugural season at John Paul Jones Arena.

Dowdell scored 17 points for the Hokies, who shot 36 percent (21-of-58), including 2-of-15 on 3-pointers, in absorbing their third loss in their last four games.

"I'm not sure if it was their defense or our ineffectiveness in terms of our spacing and how we played offensively," Greenberg said. "We didn't convert on some fast-break opportunities. They're a good defensive team."

Washington had nine points and Coleman Collins added eight for Virginia Tech, which was held below 60 points for the fourth time in its last eight games - all losses.

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    VIRGINIA TECH (21) 28 28 56
    VIRGINIA (25) 36 33 69 FINAL

    Mar 1 9:02 PM

    VIRGINIA TECH (21) 28

    Mar 1 7:50 PM