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Virginia holds Georgia Tech to 28 points in win

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Much like an anaconda would do to its prey in the heat of the jungle, the second-ranked Virginia Cavaliers’ defensive mindset is to strangle the life out of their opponent each and every time they step onto the court.

Thursday night, the Cavaliers used their primal-like tactics to allow the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to etch themselves into their own record book for all of the wrong reasons.

Virginia held Georgia Tech to the fewest points they ever tallied in an Atlantic Coast Conference game as the Cavaliers swatted the Yellow Jackets 57-28 in front of 13,809 fans at John Paul Jones Arena.

“There’s definitely areas where we can improve,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “Georgia Tech had a hard shooting game and we did what we had to do and matched up well.”

It was the third time this season that Virginia has held an opponent to under 30 points. No other team in the country has done it more than once.

“Now that I hear that, it is impressive,” Virginia junior guard Justin Anderson said. “But at the same time, it’s a long season. We all know how the ACC is with the tremendous amount of talent that we face night in and night out.”

The Cavaliers (18-0, 6-0 ACC) held the Yellow Jackets to a season-low 24 percent shooting from the field. Georgia Tech (9-9, 0-6) did not make a shot outside of the paint area.

“I give Virginia a lot of credit,” Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. “I thought their defense was very good and they did a good job of keeping us off of the offensive glass and things where we are good at.”

Virginia’s suffocating defense, which leads the nation in points-per-game allowed, surrendered just 12 second-half points to Georgia Tech. In all, the Cavaliers forced 10 turnovers and out-rebounded the Yellow Jackets 36-33.

A 17-2 Virginia run midway through the second half busted the game wide open.

“We talk a lot about when can we get a gap,” Bennett said. “We call a gap, three stops in a row. Just because there is something to be said where you can make them earn it three times down the floor. It’s the ability to embrace the possession and let them know that we aren’t going to give in and we aren’t going to give them a good look.”

Georgia Tech went more than seven minutes without a field goal in the second half that allowed Virginia to increase their lead to 21 points.

Guard Malcolm Brogdon led the Cavaliers with a game-high 13 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Anderson and forward Anthony Gill added seven points apiece. Cavaliers forward Darion Atkins grabbed eight rebounds and scored five points.

“We know when our defense is good our offense starts to click,” Anderson said. “I think that it was good for us to get our defensive game going early because our offense started to roll and guys started to get it going. It was really good.”

Brogdon and Anderson led the Cavaliers with four assists each as Virginia dished out 13 dimes on the night. The Yellow Jackets had just two assists on 12 made field goals for the game.

Forward Marcus Georges-Hunt topped Georgia Tech with seven points, while forward Charles Mitchell scored six points.

“They are good on film and in person,” Gregory said when asked about Virginia’s defense. “In this day and age, to play that type of defense without always getting the reward on offense is credit to (Tony) Bennett and his staff.”

The Yellow Jackets shot 0 of 12 from behind the 3-point arc.

“In the second half, their defense was at another level,” Gregory said. “Every open shot you get you have to make, and we struggled to make open shots tonight.”

After starting the game on a 9-2 run, Virginia allowed Georgia Tech to cut the lead to 13-10 near the midpoint of the first half.

The Cavaliers then went on a 10-0 spurt, and they led 23-10 after Anderson buried a 3-pointer. Anderson led the Cavaliers with seven first-half points.

Virginia led 28-16 at halftime.

The Cavaliers shot 48 percent in the first 20 minutes and forced Georgia Tech

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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