No. 20 Virginia Handles Boston College, 77-67
February 6, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
VIRGINIA PRESS RELEASE
With a lead that grew to 21 points early in the second half, Malcolm Brogdon never expected to have to make meaningful free throws at the end for No. 20 Virginia against Boston College on Wednesday night.
That he did was part credit to the Eagles, and part Virginia going into cruise control too early.
"I think we did just a little bit and that's as soon as they started getting shots up and making shots," Brogdon said after he had 17 points, a career-best 11 rebounds and seven assists in the Cavaliers' 77-67 victory.
"We started going under screens and made a few uncharacteristic errors on defense."
In the end, on a night when he teammates were 11 of 25 at the free throw line, Brogdon wrapped up an 8-for-9 effort at the line by making all four of his attempts in the final minute, the last two with 36 seconds left and BC having closed within 73-67.
Until a 17-4 flurry at the end by the Eagles, Virginia seemed ready to coast to its sixth consecutive victory. They used runs of 15-0 and 20-8 in the first half to take charge, and built their lead to 21 points, the last time at 56-35 with 10:51 to go.
Eagles coach Steve Donahue was pleased with his team's effort, but was also impressed with Virginia.
"Tony and his guys have done an incredible job of developing this team individually, collectively, physically, skill-wise," he said of Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett. "It's just real impressive what they do and I admire it."
He said he's perhaps most impressed that Joe Harris, a first-team All-ACC player last season, has been willing to allow Brogdon, and other teammates, to assume more of the scoring load on nights when they have it going.
"What I admire is that Joe Harris, who I think is a terrific player, is willing to take a back seat at times and go from 19 points a game to 11 points a game.," Donahue said. "That makes them dangerous. ... In this day and age when kids worry about stats so much, it just doesn't seem that this team worries about how it gets done, and that makes them dangerous."
Anthony Gill and Justin Anderson added 13 points each for the Cavaliers (18-5, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia led 40-21 at halftime and never let its margin dip below 13 until the final minutes.
Fouls were an issue as the officials called 31 in the second half, including numerous whistles for hand-checking.
"I don't think we adjusted well," Gill said. "We just kept fouling and it really threw us off our game."
Ryan Anderson scored 20 points to lead the Eagles (6-16, 2-7), who lost for the ninth time in 11 games. Their only two victories in that stretch have both come against last-place Virginia Tech.
Gill's layup sparked a 15-0 burst early in the game, allowing the Cavaliers to pull away from a 5-all tie. After BC scored eight straight to get within 20-13, Virginia closed the half with a 20-8 spree.
The victory continued Virginia's best start in the conference since the 1981-82 team won 12 of its first 13 games, but not before the Eagles made it interesting with a flurry of late scoring.
Trailing 69-50, they scored 17 of the next 21 points, closing to 73-67 with 57 seconds left on Garland Owens' 3-pointer. Brogdon was quickly fouled, and he made both shots as Virginia held on.
The game was the Cavaliers' first since a 3-pointer by Brogdon in the closing seconds lifted them to a 48-45 victory at No. 18 Pittsburgh, a triumph that vaulted Virginia back into the Top 25 for the first time since the opening weeks of the season.
They took command quickly, in part by shooting 50 percent (17 of 34) from the field before halftime, and by turning 10 offensive rebounds into 16 second-chance points. The Eagles, meanwhile, shot just 39 percent in the first half and were outrebounded 24-11. Virginia turned its five turnovers into 11 points.