ATLANTA — On the next visit to town, Virginia coach Tony Bennett may take the entire team to Malcolm Brogdon’s house for a meal.
The redshirt-sophomore guard, who grew up in the northern suburbs, hosted several of his teammates at his house on Friday for a little home-cooked meal. And on Saturday Brogdon posted his second consecutive double-double, with 14 points and 11 rebounds, to help No. 20 Virginia beat Georgia Tech 64-45 and increase its winning streak to seven games.
Brogdon was only 3-for-12 from the field, but his steal and slam midway in the second half sparked a 15-1 run that broke open what had been a close game. His 11 rebounds matched his career high and he was 7-for-7 from the free-throw line.
“We let him go home and he took a number of players with him and his mom prepared something. We were going to blame her if we lost,” Bennett said. “I know it’s very gratifying for his family to come back here and finish strong. I know he won’t be pleased with some of the numbers as far as shooting, but he’s doing some other things that help us.”
Virginia did not take the lead for good until its run midway in the second half. Until then the game had been tied six times and had 13 lead changes. The Cavs were trailing 44-42 after Georgia Tech forward Kammeon Holsey’s three-point play with 9:52 remaining. The Yellow Jackets did not make another field goal and were outscored 22-1.
“It was really something to see that happen,” Bennett said. “They missed some shots, there was some fatigue involved, and our defense was bending but not breaking. We had no major breakdowns.”
That initial stretch that gave Virginia its separation included three dunks — one each by Brogdon, forward Akil Mitchell and forward Anthony Gill — that turned the momentum.
“I thought that was one of the momentum boosts when I got the steal and the finish,” Brogdon said. “We were able to close out the game strong and that is always our goal.”
Georgia Tech has totaled 86 points in its last two games against Clemson and Virginia, the No. 1 and No. 2 scoring defenses in the country. The Yellow Jackets shot 46.2 percent from the field, but was outrebounded 46-25, giving Virginia 11 second-chance points and 11 fast-break points.
“For 34 minutes we played extremely well,” Tech coach Brian Gregory said. “Unfortunately down the stretch we weren’t able to take care of the basketball. That led to some easy baskets for them.”
Virginia (19-5, 10-1 ACC) got 11 points each from guard Joe Harris and Gill.
“We try to wear teams down and that was what we were able to do,” Harris said. “We count on our defense and have a lot of depth. We try to dictate the tempo and then take control.”
Georgia Tech (12-12, 3-8) was led by guard Chris Bolden with 13 points, one shy of his season high. Bolden had been limited in practice because of a sprained ankle but was able to start. Center Daniel Miller had seven rebounds and five blocked shots before fouling out.
“We didn’t take care of the basketball,” Gregory said. “We had two or three turnovers where we didn’t get a shot. We weren’t strong enough and tough enough in the last eight minutes.”
Georgia Tech got two of its injured starters back. Point guard Trae Golden (groin) missed the Clemson game and forward Robert Carter Jr. (knee) was back in the lineup after missing 10 games. Golden played 18 minutes and did not score. Carter played 16 minutes and scored five points, but was obviously rusty from the field, making only 2 of 7 shots.
NOTES: With the victory, Virginia has beaten Georgia Tech in seven of its last eight meetings. Coach Tony Bennett is 5-1 against the Yellow Jackets. Tech still leads the all-time series 39-36. … Virginia has two players from Georgia on its roster: G Malcolm Brogdon of Norcross and F Evan Nolte of Milton. Both played at high schools in Atlanta’s northern suburbs. The Cavs will have another next year when Isaiah Wilkins, stepson of Atlanta Hawks great Dominique Wilkins, joins the program. … Its No. 20 ranking by the Associated Press is
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