CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- First, Virginia's player's eyes lit up. The scoreboard followed quickly as the Cavaliers took advantage of a zone defense used by Northwestern to make 16 3-pointers Tuesday night in a 94-52 victory in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.
"Whenever we see a zone, everybody hunts down those 3-point shots knowing it's one of the things we do best," said Mamadi Diane, who had six 3-pointers in nine tries and led Virginia with 22 points. Diane also grabbed seven rebounds with three assists.
Coming off their first loss of the season, the Cavaliers (6-1) made it a rout from the beginning. Eight of their first nine baskets were 3-pointers, and first-half runs of 17-4 and 21-8 helped them lead by as many as 27. It was 54-29 by halftime, giving the home team enough scoring at that point to win without scoring another point.
"I don't think anybody was too happy with what happened Saturday," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said of a 74-60 loss to Seton Hall as the Cavaliers shot 32.8 percent. The loss sent Virginia tumbling out of the top 25 after just a one-game visit.
With Wildcats coach Bill Carmody essentially writing off the game as a loss and sticking with the defense his team plans to employ this year, the barrage continued.
"When you've got your mojo going and everybody's got rhythm and is sharing the ball, you're going to have nights like that," said Sean Singletary, who had 14 points, including three 3-pointers, and a career-high 10 assists.
Northwestern (1-4), which lost to Brown in its last game, shot 44 percent in the first half but made only 11 field goals; Virginia, conversely, had 12 3-pointers.
"It was clearly their offense and our defense that was the story of the game," Carmody said. "We gave them more and more confidence."
Calvin Baker added 16 points and made all four of his 3-point shots for Virginia, which fell two shy of the school record of 18 3s set last season against Gonzaga.
The tone was set very early, after Virginia fell behind 4-3. Adrian Joseph gave them the lead with a 3-pointer, and Jamil Tucker followed with another. Following a 3 by Thompson for Northwestern, Singletary and Diane both made one for the Cavaliers.
Before the Wildcats scored again, Baker hit a 3-pointer and the Cavaliers' first 2-point basket, Joseph hit his second 3-pointer and Baker's second made it 26-11.
Virginia also made certain Northwestern wouldn't rally after the break, starting the second half on a 9-2 run capped by another 3-pointer by Diane to lead 63-31.
Shortly thereafter, Leitao began substituting freely. The biggest roar of the game came when seldom-used Andy Burns made a jumper from left side.
The victory gave the Cavaliers a 5-3 record in the annual matchup with the Big Ten and got a six-game homestand off to a good start. Virginia has now won 12 games in a row at John Paul Jones Arena, and 20 of 21 played here since the building opened.