The Latest: No. 4 Virginia tops Middle Tennessee in Bahamas
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — The Latest on the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas (all times local):
De’Andre Hunter had 15 points, nine assists and eight rebounds to help fourth-ranked Virginia beat Middle Tennessee 74-52 in the last first-round game at the Battle 4 Atlantis on Wednesday night.
Kyle Guy also scored 15 points and Braxton Key added 13 for the Cavaliers (4-0), who never trailed but didn’t put the game away until midway through the second half. Virginia led 9-0 and 30-9, only to see the Blue Raiders claw to within 38-30 early in the second half.
Guy answered with a 3-pointer to start a 9-0 run that stretched the lead back out. Middle Tennessee got no closer than 11 again.
Virginia shot 46 percent but finished with a season-high 13 turnovers.
Antonio Green scored 11 points to lead Middle Tennessee (3-2), which shot 39 percent.
The Cavaliers advanced to Thursday’s semifinals to face Dayton, while the Blue Raiders will face Butler in the consolation bracket.
Fifth-year senior center Jack Salt is back in action for fourth-ranked Virginia against Middle Tennessee.
The 6-foot-10 center missed Friday’s win against Coppin State with back stiffness, snapping a 70-game starting streak. Coach Tony Bennett didn’t sound sure beforehand about whether Salt would be ready to go for the start of the Battle 4 Atlantis, saying it would depend on how he came through practices on Monday and Tuesday.
But Salt subbed in at the 15:28 mark Wednesday night in the last of four first-round games. He grabbed an early rebound and scored inside. He also felt well enough to stretch out and dive on the floor for a loose ball with about 12½ minutes left.
Salt averages 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds on the season.
Jalen Crutcher scored 20 points to help Dayton beat Butler 69-64 in Wednesday night’s first round at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Josh Cunningham added 18 points for the Flyers (4-0), who shot 54 percent and never trailed. Dayton closed the first half with seven straight points to take a 37-26 lead and led by 15 points before holding off a late surge by the Bulldogs (3-1).
Cunningham, a preseason all-Atlantic 10 first-team pick, missed the first two games with a hand injury suffered in practice. He had 20 points on 9-for-10 shooting in last week’s debut against Purdue Fort Wayne, and then made 7 of 11 shots while pulling down eight rebounds Wednesday.
Paul Jorgensen and Sean McDermott each scored 18 points to lead Butler. High-scoring guard Kamar Baldwin finished with 11 on 5-for-17 shooting after coming in averaging 23.3 points.
Butler shot 40 percent, including 7 of 23 from 3-point range.
Wisconsin’s Nate Reuvers provided a strong example of what coach Greg Gard wants to see from his No. 25 Badgers on the defensive end.
The 6-foot-10 sophomore blocked nine shots in the 62-46 win against Stanford in the Battle 4 Atlantis. That set a tournament record and tied a program record for Wisconsin.
Reuvers said Gard had talked before the game about players knowing when “to cover for each other” if a teammate makes a defensive mistake. Gard said Reuvers is “a heck of an eraser back there” after he repeatedly swatted away shots, primarily by rotating to help at the rim.
The previous Atlantis record was seven blocks, first set by Connecticut’s Andre Drummond against Florida State in November 2011 and matched by Kansas’ Joel Embiid against UTEP two years later.
He also matched the Wisconsin single-game record set by Brad Sellers against Toledo in November 1982.
Ethan Happ had 16 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out late, and No. 25 Wisconsin beat Stanford 62-46 in Wednesday’s first round at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Sophomore Nate Reuvers had a tournament-record nine blocked shots for the Badgers (4-0), a total that also tied the longtime Wisconsin single-game record.
D’Mitrik Trice added 16 points for Wisconsin, which shot just 35 percent after halftime yet came up with a critical 9-0 burst to seize control after the Cardinal had gotten within a basket with 6:53 left.
KZ Okpala’s 3-pointer pulled Stanford (2-2) to within 44-42. By the end of the game, though, the Badgers had scored 18 of the final 22 points to secure a semifinal matchup with Oklahoma on Thursday.
Okpala scored 11 points but made 2 of 12 shots for the Cardinal, who shot 27 percent overall. Stanford faces Florida on Thursday in the consolation bracket.
Christian James scored 18 points to help Oklahoma hold off Florida 65-60 in Wednesday’s first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.
Aaron Calixte hit two clinching free throws with 5.0 seconds left for the Sooners (4-0), who led by 11 in the first half and 63-54 with 3:38 left. The Gators got back in it with 3-pointers from KeVaughn Allen and Noah Locke to make it a one-possession game, then had a final possession to pull within one or tie it in the final 15 seconds.
But Allen’s driving shot missed, setting up Calixte’s free throws to advance the Sooners in the winners’ bracket.
Oklahoma helped itself by taking a 48-34 rebounding advantage, including 15-7 on the offensive glass.
Dontay Bassett had 14 points off the bench to lead the Gators (2-2), who hit a season-high 11 3-pointers after struggling from behind the arc entering the tournament.
The Battle 4 Atlantis opens play Wednesday with four games in the Bahamas, including contests for fourth-ranked Virginia and No. 25 Wisconsin.
The tournament features five power-conference teams, including Florida, Oklahoma and Stanford.
The Gators and Sooners meet in the first game, followed by the Cardinal against the 25th-ranked Badgers. Butler and Dayton meet in the third game, followed by Middle Tennessee against the fourth-ranked Cavaliers.
The tournament will be played in Imperial Arena, a converted ballroom that seats about 3,500 fans. It concludes Friday.