Sports

Virginia outlasts Louisville in key ACC clash

Charlottesville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Virginia wasn't about to let another home game against a top conference foe slip away.

Malcolm Brogdon scored 15 points, the Cavaliers played their traditionally stifling defense, and the nation's third-ranked team survived a last-ditch comeback effort from No. 9 Louisville to hold on for a 52-47 victory at John Paul Jones Arena.

Virginia (21-1, 9-1 ACC) couldn't hold an 11-point second-half lead last Saturday against Duke for its lone blemish of the season, and had a late 10- point advantage whittled down to three in this one when the Cardinals put forth a 10-3 run capped by Chris Jones' driving layup with 18.3 seconds remaining.

Jones was fouled on the play but missed the free throw, however, before Brogdon hit two from the line to seal the result.

"I told our guys beforehand they would have to put their hard hats on and work defensively. They have some guys that can make some plays," Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett said of Louisville. "The home crowd was terrific. We needed every ounce of emotion and energy that the crowd gave us. Then our guys dug deep and came up with a big one."

The ACC-leading Cavaliers also overcame a 33.3 percent shooting display and the absence of leading scorer Justin Anderson, who sat out the entire second half with a left hand injury that limited him to two points on a 1-of-9 performance in the first.

Late Saturday night, it was revealed Anderson suffered a fractured finger on his left hand and will undergo surgery on Sunday. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

Louisville (19-4, 7-3), which was held to a brutal 4-of-21 field goal rate in the first half, had a four-game win streak snapped despite Terry Rozier's 16 points. Montrezl Harrell and Jones finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively, in defeat.

Virginia was in control for the majority of the game as the Cardinals' offense struggled to score points, and owned a relatively comfortable 47-37 lead with four minutes left.

Louisville then finally got untracked, as Rozier recorded two baskets and then connected with Harrell on a furious fast-break dunk that trimmed the margin to four. After a pair of buckets from both squads, Brogdon went 1-of-2 from the line and Rozier badly missed a 3-point try with 28 seconds remaining.

The Cardinals corralled the rebound, however, and Jones went hard to the hoop and put in a finger-roll attempt while drawing contact. His bonus shot bounced off the rim, though, and Brogdon calmly hit both of his free throws on the other end to thwart the comeback bid.

Louisville shot 52 percent in the second half but was completely stymied in the first as UVa opened up a 24-13 lead at the intermission.

After Rozier fed Harrell for an alley-oop dunk that knotted the score at 13-13, the Cardinals didn't record another point over the remaining 10:32 of the period. Virginia scored 11 unanswered during the Cardinals' dry spell to go in front by double digits.

Louisville misfired on 11 straight shots -- most of which were tightly contested by the Cavaliers -- and turned it over four times over the course of the scoreless stretch.

"I think (our guys) were anxious to score," said Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. "They broke the play down and tried to get into the lane. I think that they didn't understand how good Virginia is defensively and that the first or second option will not be there."

Virginia had its offensive struggles as well, shooting just 32.1 percent for the first half. Mike Tobey went 4-of-4 from the field, but the rest of the Cavs combined to go 5-of-24.

The Cardinals had an easier time making baskets after the break, though Virginia was able to counter any charge they made.

Consecutive jumpers from Rozier and Jones brought Louisville within 26-19 with 3 1/2 minutes elapsed in the stanza, but the Cavaliers scored the next six points.

Later on, Wayne Blackshear knocked down two 3-pointers to bookend an 8-2 Cardinals' run that cut the lead to 41-35 with 6:08 left. Brogdon then buried a shot from beyond the arc around 1 1/2 minutes later to bring the differential back to 10.

"Once we started running our offense, we were able to shoot more high- percentage shots," Harrell said.

Game Notes

The new ACC rivals were meeting for the first time since a 72-56 Louisville win in Charlottesville on Feb. 17, 1990 ... Virginia committed only two turnovers and held the Cardinals to seven second-chance points ... Anthony Gill posted 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Cavs ... UVa finished just 2-of-14 from 3-point range, while the Cardinals were 3-of-14.