NCAA

A wild start to the second half ends with the Cavaliers on top

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USA TODAY Sports

A wild start to the second half ends with the Cavaliers on top

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Kurt Benkert hit Andre Levrone with a 27-yard touchdown pass with 1:22 remaining Saturday and Virginia rallied past Georgia Tech, 40-36.

The Cavaliers (6-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) achieved bowl eligibility for the first time since 2011 in the wildest of ways, driving for the go-ahead score after the Yellow Jackets had gone ahead on a touchdown of their own with 3:10 remaining. Benkert completed three straight passes on the winning drive.

The Yellow Jackets (4-4, 3-3) had driven 90 yards in nine plays to take the lead. TaQuon Marshall twice kept the drive alive by running the ball on third down, the second time to get to Virginia's 33. On the next play, he found Ricky Jeune on a slant route and the wide receiver took it untouched into the end zone. A two-point conversion run by Marshall made the score 36-33, preventing Virginia from winning with the field goal, but the Cavaliers didn't need one as Benkert led them downfield.

His touchdown pass to Levrone was his third of the day and the second for the tandem. Levrone also caught a 34-yarder, and Doni Dowling caught a 28-yarder.

The second half got off to a wild start as Georgia Tech got touchdowns on the first two plays from scrimmage to open a 28-13 lead.

Marshall ran 78 yards after the Yellow Jackets got the ball to start the half. Virginia started at its 25 after the ensuing kickoff, and Benkert's pass for Olamide Zaccheaus instead found middle linebacker Bruce Jordan-Willing, who returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. Only 35 seconds had come off the clock.

After Virginia rallied in the closing minutes, the Yellow Jackets drove to the Cavaliers' 37, but on fourth down, Marshall was flushed from the pocket, scrambled toward his own sideline and threw a pass toward no one in particular that landed out of bounds, setting off a celebration at Scott Stadium.

Guy drops 29 points in Virginia's win over VCU

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USA Today Sports Images

Guy drops 29 points in Virginia's win over VCU

Kyle Guy scored 29 points and hit two 3-pointers in the final three minutes Friday, leading Virginia to a 76-67 victory against VCU.

Ty Jerome also hit from long range in the closing minutes and Virginia (3-0) saw its lead trimmed to three at 63-60 with five minutes left. Neither team scored for the next two minutes before Guy came off a screen right in front of the Cavaliers' and doubled their lead.

Issac Vann made it 66-62 with a driving basket for VCU (2-1), but Guy hit a pair of free throws and Jerome followed with a 3-pointer.

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Jerome added 13 points and seven assists for Virginia.

Vann led VCU with 19 points, Johnny Williams had 14 and Khris Lane 12.

THE BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers had little trouble with VCU's pressure, turning the ball over just five times and outscoring the Rams 12-5 off turnovers. They also outscored the Rams 18-0 on fast break points, but they were beaten on the backboards 36-26.

VCU: The Rams averaged 94.5 points in their first two games, but are still working to integrate what first-year coach Mike Rhoades wants them to do on offense and defense. Johnny Williams can be a force driving to the basket, and transfer Vann gives them another quality 3-point shooter.

UP NEXT

Virginia is at home on Sunday against Monmouth.

VCU faces Marquette in the Maui Invitational on Monday.

Saint Louis tops Virginia Tech behind Bess' 22 points

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Saint Louis tops Virginia Tech behind Bess' 22 points

NEW YORK -- Character was the theme espoused by Saint Louis coach Travis Ford and Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams.

Ford praised his team's ethos, as opposed to Williams, who wondered about his squad's makeup.

"What haunts me is our character was revealed in how we played," Williams said after Saint Louis topped Virginia Tech, 77-71, in the opening round of the 2K Classic on Thursday night.

"This was the first time I was caught off-guard," Williams said.

Javon Bess scored 22 points and Jordan Goodwin added 19 for Saint Louis (3-0).

"All week in practice we worked on getting back in transition," Goodwin said. "Make sure we help each other out. We take pride in our defense. Sometimes the offense might not go but every night we guard we're going to be there every play."

Despite getting a career-high 26 points from Ahmed Hill, Virginia Tech fell to 2-1. Justin Bibbs scored 15 in his first game of the season after sitting out the first two games for disciplinary reasons. Kerry Blackshear Jr. added 10 before fouling out.

"They were tougher than us from start to finish," Williams said. "I didn't think we were ever in the fight. I don't think we were ever in the mix."

The eighth all-time matchup between the Atlantic 10 and Atlantic Coast Conference programs was taut as St. Louis' 61-49 advantage with 7:57 left was the largest lead for either team.

On the strength of an 11-3 run, though, Virginia Tech cut the deficit to 64-60. Four points is as close as the Hokies would get.

Davell Rovy's baseline layup pushed the lead back to 66-60. Bess made seven free throws and Goodwin three in the final minute to help seal the win.

"It was good to see," Ford said. "We've had some really poor performances from the free-throw line in some games -- exhibition games and different things; we've had some other games where we've shot them a little bit better -- it was good to see because I think that's when you're tested.

"I've seen that from Javon. I've seen that from Jordan and different guys. When it's on the line, they seem to rise to the occasion."

Benefiting an early-season game, there were areas in which Williams and Ford to work on with their teams. For the Hokies, free-throw shooting was a significant issue as they made only 23 of 36 (63.9 percent).

Saint Louis made just 4 of 18 from the arc.

"I thought they overwhelmed us," Williams said.