Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Anthony Gill and Malcolm Brogdon each scored 10 second-half points, helping Virginia survive an early scare from upset- minded Coastal Carolina and record a 70-59 win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Gill finished with a game-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and Brogdon netted 14 for the East Region's No. 1 seed, which trailed the underdog Chanticleers by 10 points late in the first half and 35-30 at the break. The contest was tied at 47-47 with under nine minutes left before Virginia (29-6) embarked on an 18-5 run that finally put the game away.
"The second half, we decided to play as a team," said Gill. "That's how we've been winning games all season and we decided to pick it up right there and play for each other."
London Perrantes contributed 12 points and six assists to Virginia's first Tournament victory since 2007. The ACC champion Cavaliers will continue on against eighth-seeded Memphis in Sunday's third round.
Coastal Carolina (21-13) made the first-ever 16th-seed to beat a No. 1 a viable possibility by shooting an impressive 52 percent in the opening half, but Virginia's trademark defense clamped down to hold the Chanticleers to a 32 percent success rate in the second.
Badou Diagne paced the Big South Tournament champions with 14 points, while Warren Gillis had 13 before fouling out with 2:09 left.
The Chanticleers didn't look the least bit intimidated in their biggest game in program history, going toe-to-toe with the stronger and more athletic Cavs for more than 30 minutes before Virginia ultimately assumed control.
Perrantes was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer with the score knotted at 47-47 and hit all three free throws, and little-used reserve Evan Nolte drained a pair of treys during a 9-1 run that finally gave Virginia some breathing room.
"In the second half, I think the guys kept their composure," Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett remarked. "[We] got a great lift certainly from Evan and Anthony and tried not to panic, but tried to up the ante defensively. That's what happened."
A Gillis jumper cut the lead to 56-50 with just over six minutes to play, but the Cavaliers scored nine of the next 11 points to draw clear, with Joe Harris' triple with 3:34 remaining giving UVa a 65-52 cushion and essentially ending the Chanticleers' bid for a historic upset.
"They showed why they're good," Coastal Carolina head coach Cliff Ellis said of Virginia. "They didn't panic when we took the lead. They stayed the course. They played tremendous defense, especially the second half. They really took us out of what we wanted to do."
A matchup against the nation's top-ranked scoring defense was no problem for Coastal Carolina early on. The Chanticleers knocked down five of their first eight attempts from the floor in owning a 12-11 edge just over six minutes in, with Gillis following Elijah Wilson's 3-pointer with a go-ahead turnaround jumper.
Virginia briefly regrouped to take a 17-14 edge, but the Chanticleers erupted for a 17-4 run to go ahead by double digits entering the latter portion of the opening half.
A prolonged cold spell from the Cavaliers aided the surprising tear, as Virginia managed just a single field goal over a stretch of nearly 11 minutes while Coastal Carolina extended the margin. Back-to-back threes from Michael Enanga and Eric Smith staked the Chanticleers to a 29-21 advantage with five minutes left in the period, and it was a 10-point spread shortly afterward when Diagne sank a pair of foul shots.
Gill finally ended Virginia's shooting drought with an inside bucket with 1:51 to go in the half, part of a 7-0 spurt that pulled the Cavs within 32-30. El Hadji Ndieguene hit the first of two foul shots with six seconds on the clock, though, then converted a layup after his second free throw landed out of bounds to Coastal Carolina to send the Chanticleers into the break up by five.
"I don't think we were so much surprised," said Smith of the Chanticleers' first-half success. "We are real confident in ourselves, and I think we did a good job moving the ball early and getting good looks that we're accustomed to making and we were able to knock them down in the first half."
The Cavaliers appeared to have had order restored during the initial stages of the second half. A 10-0 run, in which Brogdon netted the first five points and Harris capped with a three off a screen, had Virginia up by a 42-38 count with under 16 minutes left.
Coastal Carolina refused to go away, however, with Tristian Curtis and Wilson book-ending 3-pointers around a Gill layup to forge a 47-47 tie with 8:52 to play.
Coastal Carolina finished 9-of-19 from 3-point range, while the Cavaliers were 8-of-17 from beyond the arc ... Virginia's most recent NCAA Tournament win was an 84-57 rout of Albany as a No. 4 seed in 2007. The Cavaliers dropped a 71-45 second-round decision to Florida in their previous appearance in 2012 ... The Chanticleers fell to 0-3 all-time in the tourney, losing to Indiana in 1991 and Michigan in 1993 ... Ellis is one of only 10 Division I coaches to take four schools to the NCAA Tournament, a list that also includes Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith, John Beilein and Lon Kruger. Ellis previously guided South Alabama, Clemson and Auburn to the Big Dance ... Big South teams are now 1-16 all-time in the Round of 64, with Winthrop's win over Notre Dame in 2007 the lone positive result.