UVA defense continues to stifle early season opponents

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Despite scoring only 42 points and shooting 28.5 percent from the field, Columbia's offense managed better than previous opponents facing Virginia's defense.

Coming out of the gates, the Wahoos have held their first three opponents under 30 percent shooting.

"I think we know what our identity has to be, we got to keep showing that," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said, "We just want to keep making it hard for opponents to score against us."

Things could not be much harder for Virginia opponents with the Cavaliers only allowing 36.7 points per game, which is ranked first in the country. A key factor to start the year has been Virginia's bigs at the rim.

"When we have Jay [Huff], Mamadi [Diakite], myself, Kihei [Clark] and guys like Casey [Morsell], Kody [Stattmann], whenever we have any of those guys on the floor, defensively we're just tough," senior forward Braxton Key said, "Jay and Mamadi block everything really, it makes our job a lot easier to pressure the ball and if we are to get beat we have those guys protecting us."

The Wahoos posted a season-high nine blocked shots against Columbia, with Jay Huff tying a career-high of 5 blocked shots. Virginia sits tied for 20th in the NCAA with 6.3 blocks per game, which Bennett says has helped sure up the defense as younger players get up to speed.

"I think at times when we've gotten in trouble we've been able to block some shots at the rim and we've been solid for sure and that'll have to continue to improve little by little," Bennett said.

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