CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Though the teams met only twice before Monday, Norfolk State gave in-state foe Virginia fits in the matchups, both wins for the Cavaliers.
It was much of the same this time around. Virginia got 25 points from its bench, contributions that helped the Cavaliers hold off the pesky Spartans for a 66-56 victory Monday night at John Paul Jones Arena.
"I've been struggling lately," Mitchell said. "It's something every player goes through. I'm not bothered by it too much, and when I get in, I only care about winning."
The Cavaliers shot 45 percent for the game while outrebounding the Spartans 36-31. Norfolk State shot 36.4 percent for the game.
"It was a tough game," Norfolk State coach Robert Jones said. "Virginia is a very good defensive team and the best team in the country at 2-point field goal defense, and when they're that good, you have to make 3-pointers, and we didn't do that tonight."
Norfolk State made just four of its 15 attempts from beyond the arc.
Virginia endured a forgettable start to the second half. The Cavaliers coughed up the ball four times in the first five minutes, allowing Norfolk State (8-5) to tie the game at 32 after an early 6-0 run.
"To start the way we did in the second half is unacceptable," Bennett said. "It looked like we were kind of just messing around. There's got to be some accountability for that, and that just drove me crazy."
The Cavaliers (9-3) turned the ball over 12 times on the night.
"They got theirs," Jones said of the run. "I don't think it was what we didn't do. The things we were doing solid when we were closing the gap, we kind of got away from."
Norfolk State's leading scorer, guard Malcolm Hawkins, was held to 10 points, tying his lowest output of the season. Guard Pendarvis Williams led the Spartans with 12 points, and guard Marese Phelps added 10 points.
Virginia scored the first seven points of the game and held Norfolk State without a field goal through the opening five minutes. The Cavaliers' lead grew to 14-4 after a 3-pointer by forward Evan Nolte.
Virginia is back in action next Monday when it travels to Knoxville to take on Tennessee. Norfolk State will also play next Monday, on the road against Hawaii.
NOTES: In the teams' previous meeting, Virginia beat Norfolk State 67-56 in Charlottesville last season during the first round of the NIT. ... Norfolk State G Malcolm Hawkins (10 points) continued his streak of scoring in double figures in every game this season. He has five games of 20 or more points. ... Virginia held five opponents under 50 points this season. ... The Cavaliers improved to 21-0 all-time against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (3-0 vs. Norfolk State).