The Cavaliers were the first defending champ to open the season on the road since UCLA started the 1967-68 campaign at Purdue, legendary Bruins coach John Wooden's alma mater.
Senior forward Mamadi Diakite led the 'Hoos (1-0, 1-0 ACC) with 12 points to go with six rebounds and a pair of blocks, while both junior Jay Huff (11 points, 12 rebounds) and second-year point guard Kihei Clark (10 points, 11 rebounds) added double-doubles to pace the effort, which wasn't ideal by any means.
Playing the first game of the season at the Carrier Dome could prove to be hard for Virginia, especially after losing its three best players from last season's 35-3 team to the NBA Draft.
Tony Bennett wasn't happy with his team's 16 turnovers (10 in the first 20 minutes), but the Wahoos decisively won the rebounding battle, 47-28, dished out 14 assists - Clark had half of them with seven - and led all but two minutes and 12 seconds in a hostile environment with essentially a whole different cast of characters.
Mamadi Diakite, Kihei Clark, Braxton Key and Jay Huff headline Virginia's top returnees from last season's NCAA championship and ACC regular-season title team. It marked the first time the Orange hadn't scored 40 points since 2013 at Georgetown (39).
The 'Hoos didn't make a field goal over the final five and a half minutes of the game, but they didn't need to.
The Cavaliers are 3-2 against the Orange at the Carrier Dome. His 11.7 points per game average last season was second on the team, and he also pulled down 4.3 rebounds a game after transferring from East Carolina. Syracuse trailed 25-19 at halftime, matching the team record for fewest points in a half since the Carrier Dome opened in 1980.
No. 11 UVA opens the 2019-20 season at Syracuse in ACC action on Wednesday. Virginia went 35-3 previous year and finished first in the ACC, while Syracuse ended up 20-14 and finished sixth in the ACC. Anthony, who was greeted by chants of Melo!
Virginia: The Cavaliers don't have that outside presence from a year ago, but their stiff defense looks in good form early.
The teams will meet again on January 11 in Charlottesville, Va. The Orange finish the stand against Bucknell in the NIT Season Tipoff before traveling to Brooklyn to meet Oklahoma State at the Barclay's Center.