CHARLOTTESVILLE — Yale center Sam Downey thought he was about to end the drought. With his team’s deficit ballooning into double digits, Downey rose for a routine layup that would have registered the Bulldogs’ first points in a five-minute span against No. 8 Virginia on Sunday afternoon.
He didn’t see Mamadi Diakite flying across the baseline. Virginia’s spring-loaded freshman soared above the rim to pin Downey’s attempt against the glass and keep Yale’s scoreless misery going for another three minutes midway through the second half.
“The team needed me to step up and block more shots,” said Diakite, who finished with four blocks and five points. “That is what I did.”
The Cavaliers’ eight-minute defensive stand propelled them to a 62-38 victory before 14,242 at John Paul Jones Arena. Eight players filled the scoring column for Virginia (3-0), but it was Diakite’s defensive prowess that brought the crowd to its feet. Continue reading Freshman Mamadi Diakite, No. 8 Virginia take care of Yale, 62-38