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Cavaliers silence Wolverines

BY TAFT COGHILL JR.

CHARLOTTESVILLE—With time winding down and no Michigan defender in front of him, Virginia forward Mike Scott had the perfect opportunity to throw down a dunk that would’ve thrilled the John Paul Jones Arena crowd.

But Scott has no interest in style points this season.

The Cavaliers’ 70–58 victory over the No. 14 Wolverines sufficed for the fifth-year senior.

Scott scored 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as the Cavaliers (6–1) provided a victory for the Atlantic Coast Conference in the ACC–Big Ten Challenge.

“This is a big win for us,” Scott said, “a great win that gives us a lot of confidence.”

Scott notched his 27th career double–double in front of former Virginia star center Ralph Sampson, who was honored in a halftime ceremony for his recent induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Former Virginia standout post players Travis Watson and Norman Nolan were also among the 10,546 in the crowd, which provided extra motivation for Scott.

“Everyone was here tonight,” he said. “I’m just glad we got that win in front of them.”

Virginia sophomore forward Joe Harris added 18 points, seven rebounds and four steals for the Cavaliers.

Freshman guard Malcolm Brogdon came off the bench to provide 16 points.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said Brogdon had “shown some flashes in stretches of games,” but enjoyed a breakout performance last night.

Bennett told Brogdon before the game that he had “done some good things, but there’s more in there.”

“He’s a complete player,” Bennett said. “He’s mature beyond his years. I thought tonight it was good to see him give us a lift.”

The Cavaliers defense may have provided the most important lift.

It was a key reason for the 15–0 run that turned a three-point deficit into a 12-point lead in the second half.

Scott said the Cavaliers were able to get the Wolverines (5–2) out of their comfort zone, and it freed them up offensively. Virginia held Michigan to its lowest point total of the season.

Leading scorer Tim Hardaway Jr. (17.2 points per game entering last night) scored a season-low five points.

The Cavaliers haven’t allowed any of their opponents to score 60 points this season. Scott said the Wolverines “haven’t seen defense like ours.”

“I’m not crazy about scoring 58 points but not a lot of teams may score 58 points against them,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “Thank goodness we made some 3s to be able to do that. They’re tough to get easy baskets against and when you get them, you can’t miss them and we had several of those.”

The Cavaliers shot 30 percent in the first half, but their offense clicked in the second as they knocked down six of their season-high nine 3-pointers.

Scott scored on back-to-back baskets to ignite the run and give them a 45–41 lead.

Brogdon’s 3-pointer with 8:25 remaining gave the Cavaliers a 48–41 advantage, the largest lead for either team to that point.

“Guys were getting rhythm looks,” Bennett said. “You’ve got to shoot them with confidence. It can be contagious.”

After Michigan cut its deficit to 53–46, Brogdon drained a 3 from the left corner seconds after center Assane Sene rebounded an earlier miss.

“I felt like if I missed that one, coach Bennett would’ve been mad,” Brogdon said. “Assane made a good pass and I was in a rhythm to shoot it.”

The Wolverines pulled no closer the remainder of the game. Bennett said the win was a good “barometer” for the Cavaliers, whose only loss this season was a two-point setback to Texas Christian on Nov. 18.

“This is huge,” Harris said, “as far as momentum for the rest of the season.”

The Cavaliers host Longwood on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Michigan 23 35 — 58

Virginia 24 46 — 70

Scoring

Michigan (5–2): Smotrycz 4-4 0-0 10, Morgan 2-3 1-2 5, Novak 5-8 0-0 12, Burke 4-10 2-2 11, Hardaway Jr. 2-9 0-0 5, Douglass 3-9 1-1 9, Brundidge 0-0 0-0 0, Akunne 1-1 0-0 3, Vogrich 0-2 0-0 0, Horford 0-2 0-0 0, McLimans 1-1 0-0 3, Christian 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 22-50 4-7 58..

Virginia (6–1): Scott 6-11 6-7 18, Sene 0-1 0-0 0, Evans 3-7 1-2 7, Harris 5-12 5-5 18, Zeglinski 3-10 2-2 11, Brogdon 5-7 3-6 16, Harrell 0-4 0-0 0, Ak. Mitchell 0-1 0-0 0, Atkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-53 17-22 70.

3-Point Goals—Michigan 10-22 (Smotrycz 2-2, Novak 2-3, Douglass 2-6, Akunne 1-1, McLimans 1-1, Hardaway Jr. 1-3, Burke 1-4, Vogrich 0-2), Virginia 9-25 (Brogdon 3-4, Harris 3-7, Zeglinski 3-10, Scott 0-1, Harrell 0-3). Fouled Out—Smotrycz. Rebounds—Michigan 26 (Douglass, Morgan, Smotrycz 5), Virginia 36 (Scott 11). Assists—Michigan 8 (Burke 4), Virginia 16 (Zeglinski 6). Total Fouls—Michigan 20, Virginia 12. A—10,564.

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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