No. 13 Virginia smothers No. 8 Miami defensively, wins by eight

There seemed to be some questions throughout the last few days about “what was wrong” with No. 13 Virginia following the Cavaliers’ two losses last week to Clemson and Georgia Tech.

After Tuesday, it seems pretty clear there’s nothing wrong with the Wahoos, and rather that it’s just a case of it being difficult to go on the road in the ACC.

Tony Bennett’s crew picked up a nice 66-58 win over No. 8 Miami (Fla.) on Tuesday. More than simply picking up a really nice win that will look good on its resume come March, the Cavaliers got back to the formula that has brought them so much success over the last few years.

Defense.

Virginia only allowed the Hurricanes to shoot 42 percent from the field, including 6-of-22 from behind the 3-point line — a part of the Cavaliers’ game that had been a major problem over the course of the last few games. More than that though, they really didn’t allow much in the way of ball-movement or penetration for the Canes, who really struggled to get consistent sources of offense beyond Angel Rodriguez, who scored 17 points. Given that the Hurricanes came in as a top-20 unit offensively in the country this season, it’s a pretty nice result to hold the Canes to only one point-per-possession.

Offense has been there all season for the Cavaliers though, and this one was no different. Malcolm Brogdon led the way with 20 points, including what has to be the most vicious slam of the fifth-year senior’s career.

To be honest, I’m not even sure that Brogdon himself knew he could do that, given that his game tends not to be predicated upon explosive athleticism.

Anthony Gill also scored an efficient 15 points, and London Perrantes added 13 including yet another backbreaking shot at the end of the game, this time a little teardrop floater to put the lead out to five with a minute left.

If you’re Miami, there’s nothing really to be concerned about. John Paul Jones is a tough arena to play in, and the Cavaliers are still one of the 10 or 15 best teams in America. But on the other side, this was a pretty important win for Bennett’s crew, if only to get back on the right side of the ledger. It also went about re-establishing the defensive side of the floor in a way that was necessary for them if they want to be successful. Overall, a nice, tidy result here.

London Perrantes and Angel Rodriguez did battle on Tuesday night. (USATSI)
London Perrantes and Angel Rodriguez did battle on Tuesday night. (USATSI)

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