Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon (15) shoots a 3-pointer over Virginia Tech’s Cadarian Raines (4) on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Malcolm Brogdon said yes, he’s surprised Virginia has been dominant in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Then he said he wasn’t at all.
Brogdon scored 18 points, Joe Harris had 12 and streaking Virginia closed the first half on a 21-6 run and cruised to its fourth straight victory against Virginia Tech, 65-45 on Saturday, continuing a string of lopsided victories in conference play.
The Cavaliers (15-5, 6-1) matched their best start in conference play in 31 years. In all six of their ACC victories, they have led by at least 20 points in the second half, and they’ve won by an average of nearly 19.
“It is surreal in a sense, but when you really break down the X’s and O’s, I think we’re executing at a high level, we’re playing at a high level, our camaraderie, our chemistry is performing at a high level,” Brogdon said. “We believed we could perform this well and the opportunities have presented themselves and I feel like we’ve taken advantage of them.”
They did it quickly against a reeling Hokies team that was missing No. 3 scorer Adam Smith (11.0 ppg), got a 2-for-10, seven-point performance from scoring leader Jarell Eddie and had no real answer when Virginia cranked up its defensive intensity.
The Cavaliers hardly seemed to notice, instead heeding coach Tony Bennett’s words to keep playing their game.
“He always says, ‘Keep finding the crumbs. Just stay hungry,’ ” Brogdon said of his coach. “We’re trying to find the crumbs. We’re trying to find the little things that motivate us and keep us hungry and keep us with that edge.”
The Hokies almost made it too easy, at times, Brogdon said.
“We were getting so many open shots that there were some we had to turn down,” he said, explaining that it was too early in the offensive set and the Cavaliers thought it was more important “to get more of a rhythm going.”
The Hokies (8-11, 1-6) and coach James Johnson got to see what a cohesive team looks like playing together.
“I thought going into the game they were playing some of the best basketball in the country, and they continued that tonight,” Johnson said after his Hokies lost their sixth in a row in and for the eighth time in the past nine outings.
Devin Wilson scored 12 to lead the Hokies, who finished with just 14 field goals on 42 attempts, or 33 percent, including a 3-for-18 showing from 3-point range. Eddie was 1-for-7 from behind the arc.
“When Eddie goes 1-for-7, it’s tough for us,” Johnson said.
Virginia Tech tried to make a run to start the second half, scoring seven of the first nine points after halftime to get within 36-24, but Virginia responded by pushing its lead as high as 23 and Bennett substituted liberally at the finish.
Virginia led 13-11 when its defense really started to bother the Hokies.
After Ben Emelogu’s 3-pointer with 14:32 left in the half, Virginia Tech didn’t get another point for 8:20 and didn’t get another field goal for 10:12, when Emelogu connected again from deep. The Cavaliers didn’t exactly take advantage, scoring just eight points during the scoreless drought, to lead just 21-11.
Once Wilson finally broke through with a free throw for the Hokies, Brogdon made one of his four 3-pointers, and Virginia outscored Virginia Tech 13-6 over the last six minutes of the half.comments powered by Disqus