Diakite continues to show value at the rim

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- After a collision with teammate De'Andre Hunter against Duke, Mamadi Diakite was a game-time decision for North Carolina on Monday, but his coach said "thank goodness" he did play.

"His minutes were big because you needed some athleticism to combat that and I thought he was sound when he was out there," Virginia Coach Tony Bennett said after the Cavaliers win over UNC.

Diakite came off the bench for the win, but still provided a big impact tying a career-high with four block shots.

"Offensively, I was getting as much as I usually do," Diakite said, "But defensively I wanted to make sure that the team had me and could trust me, so I can at least give them a lift."

The junior from the Blue Ridge School also accounted for four block shots against North Carolina State and the Wahoos' next opponent Notre Dame in their earlier win this season. Diakite said he felt "fine" by the end of the clash against Duke, but was held out and put through a protocol before their game against the Tar Heels.

"He didn't practice with us yesterday and we kind of exerted him today and went through the protocol and it was clear as long as he warmed up okay and felt fine," Bennett said, "His athleticism certainly helped and we missed him while he was out."

Despite the career-high totals, Diakite says he wants more.

"I need to have higher," Diakite said of his block total, "I'm trying to go for six or five next time, we'll see."

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