NCAA

No. 9 Virginia pulls away from Pitt 64-50

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No. 9 Virginia pulls away from Pitt 64-50

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Malcolm Brodgon's Virginia teammates still bring up the winning 3-pointer he drilled at Pittsburgh two years ago, the one that game in the middle of a 13-game winning streak that propelled the Cavaliers to the ACC title.

That run served as the launching pad that returned the Cavaliers to the league's elite, one that shows no signs of abating.

There were no heroics needed when Brogdon and No. 9 Virginia returned to the Petersen Events Center on Saturday. The Cavaliers are too good at the moment to worry about the erratic Panthers keeping it close. Brogdon scored 21 points, London Perrantes added 14 in a relatively easy 64-50 win.

The Cavaliers (19-4, 8-3 ACC) have won six straight and are unbeaten (4-0) against the Panthers since Pitt made the leap from the Big East to the ACC in 2013. Suddenly, Virginia's early January stretch in which it dropped three of four seems like a distant memory.

"Since then we've come a long way," Brogdon said. "We've turned a new leaf. We're just trying to build our momentum."

Jamel Artis led Pitt (17-5, 6-4) with 17 points and Michael Young had 12 points and 10 rebounds but the Panthers again struggled to keep up with a quality opponent. All five of Pitt's losses have come by at least 13 points. The Panthers are 0-3 against ranked teams this season.

"We can say we're a great team, we've got to go out and do it on the court," Artis said. "We didn't prove nothing yet to nobody."

Brogdon went off early, scoring 14 points in the first 20 minutes during a taut and entertaining back-and-forth with Young and Artis.

When Sheldon Jeter's putback knotted the game at 31 a minute into the second half, the raucous black-clad Pitt student section came to life.

Just as abruptly, the Cavaliers took over.

Brogdon hit a 3-pointer and Devon Hall followed with one of his own at the end of a possession that perfectly encapsulated what Virginia does so well. Perrantes had the ball on the wing in transition and could have taken a wide open 3-pointer. Instead, the ACC's leading 3-point shooter pulled the ball down and the Cavaliers ran their offense to get Hall a wide-open 23-footer that he calmly drilled.

"Turning that down and getting another bucket, that's not bad," Perrantes said. "Nobody cares about their stats. We just have players who want to win."

Perrantes followed with a 3 of his own on Virginia's next trip and when Hall hit an acrobatic lay-up while getting fouled, the ensuing free throw put the Cavaliers up 43-31. Pitt never got closer than nine the rest of the way.

"We knew we could get what we wanted on the offensive end," Perrantes said. "We knew the shots were going to fall and we kept pushing it out, kept our feet on the pedal."

SPREADING THE WEALTH

The Cavaliers finished with 17 assists on 24 made field goals and turned it over just seven times. While Brogdon and Perrantes led the way, Virginia also received solid contributions off the bench from Marial Shayok (eight points) and senior center Mike Tobey with second-leading scorer Anthony Gill limited to four points in 21 minutes due to foul issues.

"It's great to see (the bench) contribute," Brogdon said. "That's the reason we're playing the way we're playing now and the reason we're winning, is because everybody is contributing."

SHAKY DEFENSE

The way Virginia plays now -- controlling the tempo offensively, suffocating opponents on the other end of the floor -- is basically a remixed version of the formula Pitt used to become a consistent contender during its final decade in the Big East. It's one the Panthers have struggled to grasp since the switch to the ACC, particularly this season.

The menace Pitt used to play with has vanished. Virginia outscored the Panthers in the pain 28-14, including a handful of emphatic dunks in the second half.

"I was concerned in November and October and September (about our defense)," coach Jamie Dixon said. "It's no secret to me. It comes out in losses, but it's evident in wins too. We've got to get better."

TIP-INS

Virginia: The Cavaliers shot 48 percent (24 of 50) from the floor and 9 of 16 from 3-point range. ... Virginia has outscored opponents in 20 of its 23 games.

Pitt: The Panthers shot 39 percent (18 of 41) and made just 2 of 13 3-pointers. ... Senior point guard James Robinson was held scoreless on 0 for 7 shooting.

UP NEXT:

Virginia: Hosts Virginia Tech on Tuesday.

Pitt: Travels to No. 17 Miami on Tuesday.

MORE NCAA HOOPS: Signing day: The Mendenhall era begins in Virginia

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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USA TODAY Sports

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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USA TODAY Sports

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."