As good as forwards Akil Mitchell and Darion Atkins were in Virginia’s 46-38 victory over Tennessee on Wednesday, and have been during the Cavaliers’ six-game winning streak, they are hardly finished products.
Consider three late possessions with Virginia clinging to a 38-33 lead.
First Jordan McRae stripped Mitchell in the low post for a steal. Then Atkins, after a sweet pump fake, missed a layup. Finally, Mitchell failed to aggressively pursue Paul Jesperson’s entry pass, allowing Jarnell Stokes to step in front for a steal.
All that said, Mitchell and Atkins and producing far more in the low than most anticipated. Here are some details, neither deadline nor space permitted mentioning in Thursday’s print column.
Mitchell is averaging 12.7 points and 9.7 rebounds. Last season as a sophomore, he averaged 4.1 and 4.4.
Atkins is averaging 7.8 points and 5.2 boards. His norms last season as a freshman were 2.3 and 2.3.
Mitchell scored 131 points last season. He has 114 this year.
Atkins scored 61 points last season. He has 70 this year.
Mitchell’s 13 points Wednesday marked his eighth double-figure scoring game in nine outings. Atkins’ three blocked shots give him 17 for the season, two shy of his freshman total.
Some quick overall numbers:
* Tennessee shot 28.8 percent, the eighth consecutive Virginia opponent to shoot less than 43 percent.
* Wednesday marked the fewest points the Cavaliers have scored in a victory since defeating North Carolina State and Jimmy Valvano 45-40 in 1982.
* Under Tony Bennett, Virginia is 21-1 when limiting the opponent to less than 50 points.
* Tennessee made 3-of-19 from behind the arc. The Cavaliers’ last four victims – North Texas, Wisconsin, Green Bay and UT – were a combined 19-of-77 from three, 24.7 percent.
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