UVA's role players working to improve

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Including three walk-ons, Virginia had 13 players appear in Monday night's 83-45 win against Morgan State at John Paul Jones Arena. All 13 players got into the scorebook -- and also got valuable game experience, according to head coach Tony Bennett.

"It was good to see a lot of guys get opportunities to play," Bennett said afterward. "We're going to need everyone."

The blowout gave UVA an opportunity to give some role players extended minutes off the bench. Sophomore guard Marco Anthony's 20 minutes were a season high. Same for the 12 minutes the Cavaliers got from freshman guard Kody Stattmann.

Anthony scored a season-high eight points against Morgan State, on 2-for-4 shooting. The sophomore had endured back-to-back DNPs before coming off the bench to play a six-minute stint at Maryland that drew praise from Bennett following that game.

Anthony played in 13 games as a freshman last season, highlighted by a 10-point performance on 4-of-6 shooting to spark the Cavaliers in a win at home against Louisville on January 31. Now in his second season, Anthony says he has a better grasp on how he can help the Wahoos in his short spurts.

"I just take everything day-by-day, and just use every opportunity as a growing opportunity for myself," he said. "Just being prepared for the moment, always being ready for the moment. And not being hesitant anymore, and just being assertive when I'm out there."

A 6-7 guard from Australia, Stattmann has appeared in five games for the Cavaliers this season. His nine points on Monday were more than his career total coming into the game -- Stattmann scored six against Coppin State and two against Middle Tennessee -- and he hit his first career 3-pointer against Morgan State.

Stattmann says his job is to be aggressive on the offensive end when he gets in games. He believes practicing against the Cavaliers' veterans each day has helped him improve.

"The best defensive team in the nation, I reckon. And coming into that, going against Kyle, Ty, Dre all the time in practice, it's really making me a better player," Stattmann said. "I wasn't expecting it to be that difficult, but they really get up into you, and you have to take care of the ball. Practice is always challenging, but it's always going to make me a better player, which I really like."



 
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