NCAA

London Perrantes, Marial Shayok carry Virginia to 76-71 win against UNCW

London Perrantes, Marial Shayok carry Virginia to 76-71 win against UNCW

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Defensive-minded Virginia showed it can play with a little offensive tempo, even using five guards to outpace UNC Wilmington.

London Perrantes scored 24 points, Marial Shayok added a career-high 23 off the bench and No. 5 seed Virginia rallied from 15 points down to beat 12th-seeded UNC Wilmington 76-71 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

Perrantes scored 19 points in the second half as the Cavaliers (23-10) got their slow-paced offense going. His biggest bucket was a driving bank shot with 1:37 remaining, which put the Cavs up 71-66.

UNCW (29-6) wouldn't go away, though. Chris Flemmings drained a 3-pointer from the elbow and then Devontae Cacok hit a layup to make it 73-71 with less than a minute to play. But Shayok answered on the other end, banking in a runner that gave the Cavs some breathing room in the closing seconds.

"I just wanted to provide energy off the slow start," Shayok said. "Personally, I just didn't want to go out like that, and I knew my teammates didn't either. So I just wanted to come out and provide what I could on both ends and just bring a spark."

Virginia advanced past the first round for the fourth consecutive year and won as a No. 5 seed for the first time in four tries. The Cavs can thank Perrantes and Shayok for making it happen.

Perrantes was 9-of-14 shooting, and Shayok was 8 of 14. The guard duo set the pace late after Virginia trailed big.

The Cavaliers closed the first half with a 16-1 run that erased the double-digit deficit.

"In the game we tried everything to stop their run," UNCW guard Ambrose Mosley said. "It's hard because you want to win every game; especially having an easy lead like we did in the first half."

UNCW was nearly perfect early, with Mosley, Denzel Ingram and Cacok hitting every shot they took.

The result was a 15-point lead for the Seahawks. They controlled tempo, were seemingly first to every loose ball and looked like they would become the latest No. 12 seed to win in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

In the previous five years, half of the 12 seeds (10 of 20) have bounced No. 5 seeds.

But Perrantes and Shayok didn't let it happen again.

"I think we had the last run," Perrantes said. "Obviously, we knew at the beginning that they were going to make some tough shots. The point guard made some big shots with a hand in his face. Everybody seemed to have made shots. So I kind of just knew that, hopefully, they were going to start missing and we were going to start making them."

BIG PICTURE

UNC Wilmington: The Seahawks, who averaged 85.2 points a game this season, wanted a high-scoring affair and surely would have liked their chances with it in the 70s. But their inability to slow down Perrantes and Shayok, a big guard combination, proved to be the difference.

Virginia: Maybe the Cavs can score enough to be a factor in the tournament. Many believed their defense-first philosophy would be problematic, but if Perrantes and Shayok keep making shots, there's little doubt this team can keep winning.

OFF NIGHT

UNCW's leading scorer, guard C.J. Bryce, struggled in every aspect of the game. Bryce was 2-for-11 shooting, including 0-for-2 from behind the arc, and even missed three free throws. He finished with eight points, ending his streak of scoring in double figures at nine games.

"I didn't have my best game," Bryce said. "Some shots didn't drop for me and my teammates. ... I took a couple tough shots early, (and) that affected my touch throughout the game. I tried to start getting to the line more, but they just didn't drop for me tonight."

UP NEXT

Virginia: Plays the winner of No. 4 seed Florida and 13th-seeded East Tennessee State on Saturday.

MORE NCAA: Wizards in March Madness

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

MORE NCAA: TOP BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

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After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.

MORE NCAA: BEST BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."