Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Recap (Virginia vs Arizona State)

It’s not too often that you’ll hear ‘basketball game’ and ‘casino’ in the same sentence, so each November in rural Connecticut, it is quite a treat.

The 7th ranked Virginia Cavaliers took down Arizona State, 48-45 in the 2019 Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Tip Off Championship.  Casey Morsell and Mamadi Diakite led the Cavs on offense, with 19 and 15 points respectively, while Remy Martin boasted 21 for the Sun Devils

Virginia got off to a hot start, with an 8-2 lead at the under-16 media timeout, during which two lovers got engaged at center court, much to the delight of the fans inside Mohegan Sun Arena.  That defense continued on, as Tony Bennett’s squad used turnovers and shot clock violations to take Arizona State out of a rhythm.  However, multiple threes from Rob Edwards allowed the Sun Devils to crack into the lead, pulling it to 10-8 midway through the first half.

Virginia was able to capitalize on some offensive possessions, practically limiting Arizona State to nothing but a few points from the free throw line for the majority of the rest of the half.  The Sun Devils were able to score on their final three possessions however, cutting Virginia’s lead to 26-21 at the end of the first half.  Remy Martin led the Sun Devils in scoring with 11 points, while Casey Morsell had 10 for the Cavaliers.

Then Remy Martin happened.  The stud guard nailed two shots in a row to open up the second half, bringing his point total to 14, but also leading a run that put Arizona State up 28-26 at the under-16 timeout.

The Sun Devils continued their hot start to the second half, going on a 19-0 run in total, before Virginia finally put up their first points of the half.  Virginia didn’t let up either, eventually cutting it to 38-34, with a loud Cavalier crowd eager to support.  That crowd noise continued too, after Mamadi Diakite hit two free throws to tie it up at 38, followed by two more from Casey Morsell, to put Virginia back on top, 40-39 with just over four minutes left in the game.

Virginia was able to keep that lead over the next few minutes, making it 48-45 with 11.8 seconds remaining, thanks in part to the Morsell show on offense, and strong defense from Diakite.  That strong defense continued on the final play, as the Cavaliers took it.