CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — With Virginia clinging to a 49-48 lead and Syracuse showing no sign of letting up, Malcom Brogdon made his presence felt.
The fifth-year senior guard made a 3-pointer from just in front of the Cavaliers bench, prompting a timeout by Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, and then made another one 29 seconds later, steadying No. 13 Virginia in its 73-65 victory against the Orange on Sunday night.
“They definitely felt good,” Brogdon said after scoring 12 of his 21 points in the final 5:45. “It felt better because I felt like we were able to pick up some momentum defensively. Other guys were able to be aggressive. Things opened up a little more in the middle.”
Anthony Gill and London Perrantes added 16 points each for the Cavaliers (15-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who squandered all of a 10-point second-half lead, but Boeheim left no doubt as to who he thought made the plays that determined the outcome. The Orange had just wrapped up a 12-2 run that turned a 10-point deficit into a tie game with 8 minutes to play when Brogdon got free for the big shots.
“We had that run to get it back and had a few opportunities, but then Brogdon stepped up and his those big 3s,” Boeheim said. “That’s what seniors do. … That’s what good players do — make those shots — and that was the difference.”
The Orange had two of their own trying to be that guy, too.
Michael Gbinije scored 24 points and Malachi Richardson 23 for the Orange (13-8, 3-5). Gbinije had 19 after half time, including 5 3-pointers, and Richardson hit six 3-pointers in all to help keep the Orange in the game. Syracuse made 13 3-pointers, including nine after halftime.
But while Virginia’s usually solid defense had become a work in progress for coach Tony Bennett, some of the long shots Gbinije and Richardson hit with the shot clock racing down or from a step or two beyond the arc were more credits to them than the fault of the defense.
“If guys are hitting tough, contested deep 3s, sometimes you have to take your hat off to them,” Bennett said.
Two free throws by Devon Hall preceded the 3-pointers from Brogdon as part of a 10-4 Cavaliers burst that gave them a 55-48 lead, but Richardson hit his fifth 3 with the shot clock winding down, and after Hall’s driving basket for Virginia, Trevor Cooney got loose for a long 3 to pull the Orange to 57-54 with 3:40 remaining. That’s when Brogdon’s backcourt made decided to put his stamp on the victory.
Perrantes hit his fourth 3-pointer of the night for Virginia, and after Gbinije hit again from behind the line with 2:12 to go, Perrantes scored on a drive, the Orange turned it over and Gill’s basket inside made it 64-57.
“We really made some nice plays down the stretch,” Bennett said, “and we had to answer some of their plays.”
Syracuse made it interesting one more time, getting within 68-65 after consecutive 3-pointers by Gbinije and Richardson in the final minute, but Brogdon made a pair of free throws to make it a two-possession game and the Orange never scored again.
Earlier, Virginia pushed its lead to 45-35 with just under 14 minutes left on a basket by Isaiah Wilkins, but Gbinije hit a pair of free throws and his third 3-pointer, giving him Syracuse’s first 11 points since the intermission. The points also sparked a 12-2 run that pulled the Orange even at 47-all on Tyler Roberson’s putback.
The game was tied at 25 until Brogdon’s foul-line jumper sparked a 12-4 run to end the half. Perrantes followed the basket with a pair of 3-pointers and Gill scored twice inside to make it 37-29 at the half.
Syracuse: The Orange are 6-6 since coach Jim Boeheim returned from a nine-game suspension imposed by the NCAA to begin the season. … Second-leading scorer Trevor Cooney has more 3-pointers made, 58, than free throws made, 53.
Virginia: In the last meeting between the teams, Virginia went scoreless for the first 8:14, but rallied to lead 23-20 at halftime on its way to a 59-47 victory. … The Cavaliers shot 55.6 percent both overall (15-27) and from 3-point range (5-9) in the first half.
Syracuse: will host Notre Dame on Thursday night.
Virginia: plays at Wake Forest on Tuesday night.
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