Junior guard Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points and led four players in double figures as Virginia held off a spirited challenge from Belmont in a 79-67 victory Friday in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The No. 2-seed Cavaliers (30-3) entered the game having lost two of their past three games, and fell behind by six early in the first half before their stingy defense took over. Virginia forced 12 Belmont turnovers and held the Bruins to 3-of-13 shooting from 3-point range in the second half as they tried to rally from a 14-point deficit.
In addition to Brogdon, Anthony Gill scored 16 (13 in the second half), Justin Anderson 15 and Darion Atkins added 10. Anderson’s points were his first since the Feb. 7 game against Louisville. He’s been playing with a broken left pinky finger.
Craig Bradshaw led all scored with 25 points for Belmont.
Belmont closed to within two on a 3-pointer from Bradshaw with four minutes, 37 seconds left in the game, but on the Bruins’ next three possessions they came away with a turnover, a missed 3-pointer and another turnover. Virginia answered with nine straight points to push its lead back to 11.
Stat that mattered
Virginia forced Belmont into 12 turnovers, which turned into 19 points. In almost every other facet of the game, the teams were fairly equal.
Belmont is now 0-7 all-time in the NCAA tournament. ... Belmont’s Taylor Barnette, a Virginia transfer, scored seven points and had two assists against his former team. ... Virginia scored 40 first-half points for the first time since scoring 42 Nov. 25 at Tennessee State.
▪ “He’s a unique young man. He never got discouraged. That to me is remarkable.” – Virginia coach Tony Bennett talking about Anderson.
▪ “We were running a good offense and they just made some good stops at the end, made more winning plays in the end.” – Belmont guard Craig Bradshaw.
Virginia will face Michigan State on Sunday in the third round of the NCAA tournament. Belmont ends its season at 22-11 but should have four of five starters returning next season.