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No. 13 Virginia snaps two-game losing skid with strong second half vs. No. 8 Miami

Villinova Virginia Basketball

Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon (15) greets fans after the 86-75 win over Villanova Saturday Dec. 19, 2015, in Charlottesville, Va.


London Perrantes, Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill scored 33 of Virginia’s 39 second half points as the No. 13 Cavaliers snapped a two-game losing streak against No. 8 Miami, 66-58.

Brogdon led the way for the Wahoos, finishing with 20 points, while Gill added 15 points, eight boards and three assists and Perrantes scored all 13 of his points in the second half.

Virginia had fallen to 1-2 in the ACC after losses at Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech last week, and on paper, Miami is the kind of team that can give this iteration of Tony Bennett’s program trouble. Virginia has had issues guarding ball-screen actions this season, and this Miami team is built around a trio of dynamic guards that thrive in ... ball-screen actions.

And for the most part, Virginia won that battle, as they were able to slow down Miami’s guards. Angel Rodriguez finished with 17 points and three assists without a turnover, but much of that damage was done down the stretch as the Hurricanes were scrapping to get back into it; in other words, he didn’t have control over this game like his stat-line might say he did. Sheldon McClellan finished with just 13 points on 4-for-12 shooting. Ja’Quan Newtown and Davon Reed were just OK while the likes of Gill and Mike Tobey rendered Miami’s big men more or less ineffective.

But if we’re being frank, outside of a slow start from the Hurricanes, this was not exactly a vintage Virginia defensive performance. They gave up 58 points on 57 possessions, which is slightly worse than their season average and a nowhere near what peak-Virginia was able to do last season. I’m done belaboring the point, but the Cavaliers cannot simply rely on their defense to win them games this season.

No, they won this game because their studs played like studs, particularly in the second half. Brogdon was breaking down Miami’s defense off the dribble and on cuts to the rim. Gill -- and Mike Tobey, who had 12 points and seven boards -- was getting to the offensive glass and scoring in the post. Perrantes made big plays and big shots late in the game.

And if you’re a Virginia fan, you might as well get used to this. It’s not changing.

Their style lends itself to playing in close games, and the theme this season has been that when those close games are played at home, they make the plays they need to in order to win. When they’re played on the road, Virginia hasn’t been as “clutch”.

Whatever the case may be, the bottom-line is this: Virginia just picked up a win over a legitimate top ten team and ACC title contender in the Hurricanes.

Semantic and details aside, that is always a good thing.