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Reynolds shoots Virginia into second round

Mar 16, 2007 - 11:27 PM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- J.R. Reynolds did not waste any time making his mark on the NCAA Tournament.

Reynolds scored 23 of his 28 points in the first half as fourth-seeded Virginia cruised to an 84-57 triumph over No. 13 seed Albany in the first round of the South Region.

With the victory, the Cavaliers (21-10) advanced to the second round for the first time since 1995, when they reached the regional final.

"I think we made a great statement today," Reynolds said. "We aren't finished yet. We had to show everyone what we can do, and today was a good way to get started."

Virginia's second-leading scorer, Reynolds made the most of his first career NCAA Tournament appearance, shooting 9-of-13 from the floor and going 5-of-8 from the arc.

"I was feeling good all week," said Reynolds, who has been nursing a hip injury of late. "Just to get back in the rhythm, to get back with the guys on the team - they kind of uplifted me. I didn't want this to be our last game."

"Obviously we're very happy, particularly for J.R. to come back and play the way he's capable of playing," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said.

The 6-3 senior teamed with fellow guard Sean Singletary to help Virginia snap its two-game skid, which included an upset at the hands of North Carolina State in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

"I thought Virginia played as well as they could play," Albany coach Will Brown said. "I was very impressed with their team today. Their guards are as good as expected."

The Cavaliers raced to a 19-2 lead and built a 31-11 advantage thanks to Reynolds, who erupted for 16 points in a span of less than five minutes to help Virginia pull away early.

"We got in the groove of things and got the game going," Reynolds said. "We just tried to make it tough on them."

Singletary scored 23 points and dished out nine assists while Mamadi Diane chipped in 10 points for the Cavaliers, who will face fifth-seeded Tennessee in Sunday's second round.

"We did a good job of getting everyone the ball," Singletary said. "Our communication was good, and we did a good job reading the defense."

Jamar Wilson scored 25 points to pace Albany (23-10), which nearly posted a first-round upset of top-seeded Connecticut last season.

However, the Great Danes never were a threat Friday, trailing by as many as 30 points in the second half while finishing 8-of-26 (31 percent) from the arc.

"We didn't really execute the game plan very well in the first half," Brown said. "A lot of that had to do with Virginia's defensive schemes."

    --- --- -----
    ALBANY 25 32 57
    VIRGINIA 45 39 84 FINAL

    Mar 16 2:14 PM

    NCAA BB (13) ALBANY 25

    Mar 16 1:07 PM