Mamadi Diakite scored 19 points and No. 7 Virginia overcame the hot second-half shooting of Vermont's Anthony Lamb with a 61-55 victory Tuesday night in Charlottesville, Va., in a campus game as part of the Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Tournament.
Lamb poured in 25 of his 30 points after intermission and made a career-high seven 3-pointers as the Catamounts (4-1) put a scare into the defending national champion Cavaliers (4-0).
Kihei Clark added 15 points and Braxton Key had 14 as Virginia won its 20th consecutive nonconference home game. Jay Huff had nine points and seven rebounds.
Stef Smith scored 13 points for Vermont, which hasn't defeated a ranked opponent since 2006 and is now 0-16 all-time against top-10 teams.
The Cavaliers, whose first three opponents averaged only 36.7 points per game, surrendered 37 points in the second half.
Vermont started the second half with a 10-2 run against the cold-shooting Cavaliers, grabbing a 28-26 lead on Lamb's 3-pointer with 14:20 to play. It was the Catamounts' first lead since 7-5.
Four more 3-point buckets by Lamb extended Vermont's advantage to 40-36 with 9:40 remaining.
After Lamb made three free throws with 5:25 left to give the Catamounts a 49-48 edge, they didn't score again until the 1:47 mark.
In that time, Virginia seized control with a 9-0 surge to build a 57-49 lead.
This was the Cavaliers' first game against an America East Conference opponent since their shocking loss to UMBC in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, the only loss by a No. 1 seed in the first round.
After Vermont scored the game's first seven points, Virginia responded with a 14-0 run bookended by 3-pointers from Diakite. Ryan Davis finally halted the Catamounts' nearly nine-minute scoring drought with a 3-pointer with 8:52 remaining to cut the Cavaliers' lead to 14-10.
Virginia took its largest lead of the opening half at 22-12 on two free throws by Key with 2:47 left. Vermont stuck around and went into the locker room trailing 24-18 after Lamb beat the first-half buzzer with a 3-pointer.
Virginia sophomore guard Kody Stattmann, who started two of the first three games, was not available due to illness.
Both teams return to action on Saturday at the Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Virginia faces Massachusetts and Vermont takes on Central Connecticut State.
--Field Level Media