CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Ty Jerome scored 20 points and De'Andre Hunter had 13 and 10 rebounds Tuesday night as No. 5 Virginia beat Towson 73-42 in the opener for both teams.
Jerome made six 3-pointers for the Cavaliers (1-0), who were playing for the first time since they made history by becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in the NCAA Tournament. That 74-54 loss to UMBC last March, they insisted leading into the opener, was the furthest thing from their mind.
Tobias Howard made three 3-pointers and led Towson (0-1) with 10 points and Brian Fobbs had nine. The Tigers had long spells without a field goal in each half and finished shooting 31.7 percent (13-41). They also missed 15 of 27 free throws (46.7 percent) and turned the ball over 14 times while forcing just five by the Cavaliers.
Jerome was hot from the start for Virginia. He scored 11 in the first half and took a seat early having made 6 of 9 3-point shots and adding four assists. He was joined with an early night off by Hunter, who played just 26 minutes and watched as Tony Bennett emptied his bench by the midpoint of the second half.
Freshman Kihel Clark was impressive in his debut for Virginia. The 5-foot-9 guard made, arguably, the defensive play of the game when he intercepted the ball while guarding an inbounds pass and laid it in for a 49-33 Cavaliers lead. Later, he threw an alley-oop pass to Jay Huff, putting Virginia ahead 65-37 with 3:29 to play. Alabama transfer Braxton Key had seven points and eight rebounds for Virginia.