Recap: Virginia vs. Syracuse
Charlottesville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Virginia unexpectedly wrapped up the ACC regular season title Saturday with a thorough 75-56 victory over No. 4 Syracuse.
The 12th-ranked Cavaliers won the crown outright for just the second time in the program's history by somewhat quietly reeling off 13 consecutive victories following a close loss at Duke on Jan. 13.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 19 points, Akil Mitchell chipped in with 12 and Mike Tobey and Justin Anderson each had 11 for Virginia (25-5, 16-1 ACC), which outscored the Orange 33-14 over the final 11 minutes.
"I was super excited," Brogdon said of the waning moments of the game. "You can do nothing but smile at that point. When you beat a team like Syracuse and you're having success like we're having, it's surreal."
Syracuse (26-3, 13-3), losers in three of its last four games following a 25-0 start, received 13 points apiece from Tyler Ennis and C.J. Fair and 12 from Trevor Cooney.
Jerami Grant, the Orange's leading rebounder and third leading scorer, sat out the entire second half for the second straight game due to a back injury.
The Orange barely survived Grant's absence at Maryland on Monday, and the Cavaliers proved a far superior test.
"They have been the best team in the league so far this year. They proved that today," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.
Ennis picked up his fourth foul during a 7-0 Cavs flurry that London Perrantes capped with a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 49-42 Virginia lead with 8:48 to play.
Rakeem Christmas scored inside to stop the run, but that was the only basket the Orange mustered over a nearly 11-minute span.
Senior Joe Harris, playing his final game at John Paul Jones Arena, drained another of Virginia's eight 3-pointers to highlight a 13-3 run that essentially put the game away.
The Cavs, winners of 18 straight league games at home, celebrated the signature win and their first outright ACC title since 1980-81 with the student section at midcourt.
Virginia owned the largest lead in the first half at 22-15 following a Tobey putback.
Syracuse answered with 13 of the next 15 points behind 3-pointers from Ennis, Cooney and Michael Gbinije, and went into the break holding a slim 28-27 lead.
A flash of exchanging blows kept it close early in the second half. Virginia hit 3-pointers on three consecutive trips at one point, only to be countered by a successful Syracuse bucket at the other end.
It was 42-42 before Virginia took control.Game Notes
Virginia has six all-time ACC regular season titles ... This is the Cavs'
first 25-win campaign since 1994-95 ... Virginia, which wraps up its regular
season slate on the road against Maryland on Mar. 9, finished 15-2 at home ...
Syracuse closes out the regular season with a home game against Georgia Tech
and a road test at Florida State next week ... Syracuse came in seventh in the
nation in scoring defense (58.5 ppg.)