Virginia men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett was taken to the locker room before halftime Thursday after collapsing during an 81-45 rout of Hampton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Bennett fell to the floor with 34.1 seconds left. He sat on the bench talking to his assistants for a few moments, appearing to be in noticeable pain. Team trainers helped the 46-year-old to the locker room with 5.3 seconds left in the half and both teams still on the court.
Virginia reported Bennett was dehydrated, and he was back for the second half. Virginia fans gave him a loud ovation when he returned, and he spent the rest of the game sitting either on the bench or on a stool near the scorer's table instead of crouching on the sideline.
Virginia had no problems advancing to face ninth-seeded Butler (22-10) Saturday. Anthony Gill scored 19 points, London Perrantes had 12 and Malcolm Brogdon finished with 11 for the top-seeded Cavaliers (28-6). They shot 55 percent, hit 12 3-pointers and put this one well out of reach with a 20-3 run late in the first half.
Bennett's scare came as the Cavaliers were putting the finishing touches on that game-deciding run. After Hampton made it a 2-point game with just less than six minutes left in the half, Brogdon took over. He sandwiched two 3-pointers around a bullet pass that set up a dunk by Isaiah Wilkins. Perrantes then hit consecutive 3s before Evan Nolte also hit from long range, and Gill's 3-point play at the time Bennett collapsed made it 40-21 at halftime.
Quinton Chievous scored 17 points and Reginald Johnson Jr. had 10 for 16th-seeded Hampton (20-11), which was just 4 of 20 from 3-point range and shot 32 percent.
The Pirates never got closer than 19 in the second half.