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Virginia trounces Virginia Tech behind strong defense

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Two years ago, Virginia Tech came into John Paul Jones Arena riding a four-game conference losing streak as they were set to face 15th-ranked Virginia. The Hokies left Charlottesville that day with a 47-45 win, leaving Cavaliers fans scratching their heads.

Saturday afternoon similar circumstances arose as Virginia welcomed its in-state rival, which had dropped five straight ACC games entering play while the Cavaliers were looking to win their third straight. The outcome, however, would be much different as Virginia cruised past the struggling Hokies 65-45 in front of a crowd of 14,215.

Guard Malcolm Brogdon knocked down a career-high four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 18 points.

"When his feet are set and he's in rhythm, that's good," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said of the sophomore. "He took pretty much wide-open shots and played a good floor game."

With the win, the Cavaliers moved to 6-1 in the ACC, which is their best start in conference play since the 1982-1983 season.

"6-1 means a lot to us but that's a little over a third of the way through our conference season," Bennett said. "I just want our guys to pursue quality. I know I say that a lot but it is so important and it's good that we are off to this start."

Virginia (15-5, 6-1) shot 43.5 percent from the field for the game while holding Virginia Tech to just 33.3 percent shooting. The Hokies made just 3 of 18 3-point attempts as they struggled to handle Virginia's pack-line defense.

"We had real good stretches of team defense," Bennett said. "They were a little out of rhythm offensively and I thought we took advantage of that and played fairly sound man-to-man defense."

Freshman guard Devin Wilson was the only Hokies player in double figures as he scored 12 points. Forwards Joey Van Zegeren, Jarell Eddie and C.J. Barksdale added seven points apiece. Eddie was just 2-for-10 from the field, however, and 1-for-7 from beyond the arc.

"That's a very good Virginia basketball team," Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. "They contribute to our offensive woes. I thought coming into the game they were playing some of the best basketball in the country."

After Virginia Tech (8-11, 1-6) took an 8-7 lead on Eddie's 3-pointer with 17:09 left in the first half, Virginia used a 27-9 run to end the half up 34-17.

The Hokies were ice cold from the field in the first half, shooting just 27.3 percent from the field, including a stretch of more than eight minutes where they failed to score a point. A Wilson free throw with 6:12 left ended that drought but the damage was done. Guard Ben Emelogu led the Hokies with six first-half points off the bench.

Virginia Tech opened the second half on a 6-0 run but was never able to get closer than 12 as it turned the ball over 12 times for the game and was outrebounded by the Cavaliers 34-29.

"I thought we came out and fought and competed," Johnson said. "We just left too many possessions out there and every possession counts with the way they play."

Guard Joe Harris added 12 points for Virginia while center Mike Tobey scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds.

Virginia made 19 of its 26 free throw attempts, including a perfect 4-for-4 by Tobey. The Hokies struggled at the line, as they finished 14 of 25.

The Cavaliers shot 54.5 percent from the field in the first half and they knocked down five 3-pointers. Brogdon and Harris combined for 21 first-half points.

NOTES: Since the 1999-2000 season, Virginia has a 49-13 record against teams from the Commonwealth of Virginia. ... Virginia has won its first six ACC games by 10 or more points for the first time in school history. ... After winning their ACC opener against Miami, Virginia Tech has lost six straight games. ... Virginia guard Teven Jones recorded his first career dunk as a Cavalier with a one-handed throwdown in the second half. ... The Hokies look to end their six-game losing streak when they travel to Boston College on Wednesday. ... Virginia will be back in action Tuesday night when it hits the road to play Notre Dame.

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