NCAA News Wire

No. 2 Virginia uses late run to get past Pittsburgh

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — As snow fell and the conditions began to deteriorate outside, the second-ranked Virginia Cavaliers looked to improve on one of the best starts in school history inside the warm, friendly confines of John Paul Jones Arena.

Pittsburgh entered as one of the hottest teams in the conference and had played the role of giant killer twice in the past two weeks in wins over Notre Dame and North Carolina.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, those two wins came in their home arena.

The Cavaliers used a late surge to slip by Pittsburgh 61-49.

The Panthers closed to within three at 36-33 with 7:54 remaining but Virginia used a 25-16 run to close out the game, sending Pittsburgh back up north with the loss.

“I think they (Pittsburgh) missed a few shots late,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. “I thought we responded and finished whether it was making free throws or a few late buckets.”

Pittsburgh (17-10, 6-7) was the 11th opponent that Virginia (24-1, 12-1) has held under 50 points this season.

“Virginia is a very good team playing good basketball,” Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon said. “I thought we would have came in and played better, but we didn’t.”

Guard Marial Shayoki’s 3-pointer with 4:07 to play gave Virginia a 44-33 lead, a lead they would never relinquish.

Pittsburgh cut the Cavaliers lead to seven on a Jamel Artis 3-pointer with 2:42 to play, but the Panthers were unable to crawl any closer as the Cavaliers connected on their free throws late.

Virginia finished the game 16-for-22 from the charity stripe while Pittsburgh was 9-of-17.

Guard Malcolm Brogdon led the Cavaliers with 18 points and netted his 1,000th career point late in the game. He was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

“He (Brogdon) is a complete player, steady and tough,” Bennett said. “I’m floored by how he plays, and he’s a tremendous ambassador for UVa.”

Forward Anthony Gill chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds while guard London Perrantes rounded out three Cavaliers in double figures with 10 points. Perrantes added six assists while turning the ball over just once. Forward Darion Atkins accounted for all of Virginia’s blocks on the night with four.

“The last two games we did not perform defensively,” Atkins said. “I think we came out right away and put our foot down on the defensive end tonight.”

Virginia shot 43 percent for the game and knocked down five 3-pointers after making just four in the previous two games combined. The Cavaliers outrebounded the Panthers 31-29. Pittsburgh finished the game with 12 turnovers, something that Dixon knows they can’t do.

“We had to have less turnovers, we had to outrebound them (Virginia),” Dixon said. “We didn’t do any of those things and the result speaks for itself.”

Pittsburgh shot just 39 percent for the game and was led by Artis, who put in a game-high 20 points. Forward Sheldon Jeter added 10 points, which included seven straight to start the second half.

Virginia owned the first half, using an 18-3 spurt to lead by nine with less than eight minutes to play.

After Brogdon’s 3-pointer gave Virginia a 25-12 lead late in the half, Artis buried the Panthers’ first triple of the game to put Pittsburgh back to within 10.

The Cavaliers led 25-15 at halftime.

“In that first half, I thought our defense was really good,” Bennett said. “The guys were charged up, they were bothering shots and we made them earn everything. There wasn’t a lot there and we were really inspired.”

Brogdon led Virginia with eight first-half points while Artis paced the Panthers with five.

Pittsburgh was held to 35 percent shooting and was outrebounded 18-8.

The Cavaliers shot 42 percent and knocked down three from beyond the arc.

Learn more about betting in Virginia in our Virginia Sports Betting Guide.

NOTES: This is the third meeting between the two teams as ACC foes. Virginia won both games last season. … This is the third straight game for Pittsburgh against a ranked opponent. … Virginia ranks first nationally in scoring defense at 50.9 points per game. … Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon owns a 12-111