CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Mamadi Diakite got lots of cheers before his first home game of the season as videos played with highlights of Virginia's run to its first national championship a year ago.
He gave the crowd plenty more to cheers with 19 points and 13 rebounds in the No. 11 Cavaliers' 65-34 victory over James Madison on Sunday night.
"As one of the leaders, I wanted to have a statement and show everyone that we're coming out and there's no little team," he said. 'We're going to play hard."
Virginia used a 29-6 run spanning halftime to pull away.
Diakite started the scoring for Virginia with a 3-pointer and scored on an array of inside moves, jump shots and a handful of dunks that brought the crowd into the game.
"He's coming into his own. Let's be honest," Dukes coach Louis Rowe said of the 6-foot-9 senior, who considered leaving early for the NBA after last season but decided to return. "Great in space, moves really well, comfortable at his position at 15 to 17 feet. Opened the game with a three. Rips and drives. Great finisher around the rim. Haw good feel/ Do you want any more? He's very, very good."
The Cavaliers (2-0) led by just 22-20 until Kihei Clark's 3-pointer started a 9-0 burst for Virginia. A 3-pointer by Darius Banks ended that, making it 31-23 at the half, and Rowe was pleased at the break.
That changed quickly after halftime.
"Thet ratcheted it up," he said. "They turned it up at every level."
Braxton Key scored seven straight for the Cavaliers. After Zach Jacobs' 3-pointer for JMU, Virginia reeled off 13 more points to lead 51-26 with just under 12 minutes to play.
Key finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds and, like Diakite, spent most of the last 10 minutes watching. Jay Huff added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Matt Lewis led James Madison (1-1) with 14 points, 11 in the first half. The Dukes shot just 24%, making 12 of 50 shots. They turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 18 Virginia points.