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Virginia keeps its composure, rolls past Hampton in NCAA opener

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Virginia got more of a scare from coach Tony Bennett than anything Hampton did in the teams' first-round NCAA tournament game on Thursday.

Bennett collapsed near the end of the first half as a result of dehydration, according to a university spokesman. He was helped to the locker room with five seconds left in the first half, but he returned to the sideline to coach the second.

The Cavaliers were on cruise control by then, and they can thank Coastal Carolina.

The previous time Virginia marched into Raleigh as a No. 1 seed, in the 2014 tournament, it didn’t handle the spotlight well. Anthony Gill said that because it was the first NCAA experience for the 2014 team, the Cavaliers couldn’t handle the success they had. They played Coastal Carolina like they were afraid of becoming the first No. 1 to lose to a No. 16 seed.

It showed when the Cavs trailed by 10 in the first half before emerging with a 70-59 win.

>!--photo1-->The Cavs had no such issues in their 81-45 win over Hampton.

Making its third straight tournament appearance, Virginia played with the focus of a No. 1 seed and dissected Hampton from the start.

The Pirates didn’t have the size to compete with Virginia’s post players, so they tried using a zone defense to take away Gill and Virginia’s inside options. That didn’t work, either.

The Cavs averaged just six made 3s per game this season. They had seven by halftime -- including three from guard London Perrantes.

That essentially made the Cavs impossible for Hampton to defend. When the Pirates tried playing man-to-man, Virginia’s superior size overpowered them. When they tried going to zone, Virginia shot over them.

The Cavs advance to face No. 9 seed Butler, which beat Texas Tech 71-61 in the first round.