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

Could Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. jump into 2019 NFL Draft's first round?

Could Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. jump into 2019 NFL Draft's first round?

Coming out of the NFL combine, former Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. was projected to be a second-round pick in the NFL Draft. But could he end up sliding into the first round on Thursday?

It seems like a possibility now, based on some of the teams he's met with, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday. And NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah has previously said Savage could rise to the first round too.

NBC Sports Washington's latest NFL Mock Draft has Savage going to the Green Bay Packers as the 44th overall pick.

According to Rapoport, Savage met with 11 teams, including the Carolina Panthers (No. 16 overall pick), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 20 overall pick), Seattle Seahawks (No. 21 overall pick), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 25 overall pick) and Los Angeles Rams (No. 31 overall pick). 

The three-year starter out of College Park was named Second Team All-Big Ten this season after recording 52 tackles (38 solo, 14 assist) for the Terps, along with four interceptions, including one pick six. He's versatile, strong and fast, and even if he gets passed by in the first round of the NFL Draft, it seems unlikely that he'll still be available by the end of the second.

At 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, Savage ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February -- a time that was second-fastest among all safeties -- and posted a 39.5-inch vertical, third among safeties, and a 126-inch broad jump. He also had 11 bench-press reps.

Pro Football Focus has Savage listed as the second-best safety in this year's draft class behind Delaware's Nasir Adderley because he's "a missile around the line of scrimmage".

MORE NFL DRAFT NEWS

Jamion Christian, GW basketball receive commitment from Jameer Nelson's son Jameer Jr.

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Jamion Christian, GW basketball receive commitment from Jameer Nelson's son Jameer Jr.

The George Washington University men's basketball team landed the son of longtime NBA point guard Jameer Nelson Tuesday. 

Jameer Nelson Jr., a 2019 guard out of Pennsylvania's Haverford School, decommitted from his father's alma mater (Saint Joseph's) following the news that Phil Martelli would not return for the 2019-20 season. 

This marks first-year head coach Jamion Christian's second commitment since being named head coach of the Colonials after one year at Siena College. 

Nelson Sr. played in the Association from 2004 to 2018, including 10 seasons in Orlando. The point guard averaged a career-best 16.7 points per game during the 2008-09 campaign.