Charlottesville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Malcolm Brogdon tallied 18 points and No. 2 Virginia achieved its best 25-game record in school history by posting a 61-49 victory over Pittsburgh on Monday night.
The Cavaliers (24-1, 12-1 ACC) surpassed the 23-2 mark recorded by the 1980-81 squad and did so in typical methodical fashion, grinding out another win behind the nation's top-ranked scoring defense.
Pittsburgh entered the matchup having shot nearly 65 percent from the field in an 89-76 triumph over then-No. 12 North Carolina on Saturday, but struggled on the offensive end all evening long. The Panthers managed just 15 first-half points and were never able to overcome a double-digit deficit at the break.
"I thought our defense was really good," Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett said. "Our guys were charged up. We were bothering shots, and we just made them earn everything."
Jamel Artis did finish with 20 points and eight rebounds after a big second half for the Panthers (17-10, 6-7 ACC), who had won four of their last five to put themselves back in the NCAA Tournament discussion.
"We certainly respected their ability and how hot they have been, so our guys responded to the challenge," Bennett said.
Anthony Gill added 12 points for Virginia and London Perrantes had 10 along with six assists.
After having to sweat out a one-point home win over underdog Wake Forest two days ago, the Cavaliers had some more breathing room in this one after both starting and finishing the game strong.
Pittsburgh scored the game's first four points, but Virginia followed with an elongated 18-3 run as their defense stifled the Panthers over a stretch lasting nearly 14 minutes.
The Panthers had an easier time in the second half, and closed within 36-33 with under eight minutes left when Cameron Wright hit 1-of-2 free throws following a beyond-the-arc bucket from Artis, who logged 15 points after intermission.
Virginia then turned it up a notch on both ends of the floor, holding Pitt scoreless for nearly four minutes while using an 8-0 surge to begin to pull away.
Perrantes' transition layup off a block from teammate Darion Atkins put the Cavs up 41-33 with 5:30 left, and the difference was 11 shortly after when Marial Shayok buried a 3-pointer following a Brogdon steal.
"We didn't handle being down for a stretch there in the second half," Panthers head coach Jamie Dixon said. "(The Cavaliers) keep coming, and they keep making you make the right play time and time again."
Four straight free throws from Brogdon and Gill helped keep the Panthers at bay, with the last staking Virginia to a 54-42 advantage with 1:34 remaining.
After making their first two shots, the Panthers managed just four more baskets over the remainder of the opening half and were still in single digits when a Perrantes 3-pointer and Isaiah Wilkins' dunk capped a 9-0 UVa surge that had the Cavs up 18-7 with eight minutes left in the period.
Virginia extended its lead to 13 points on Brogdon's triple 1:45 prior to the half. Artis answered with a trey of his own to send Pitt into the locker room down 25-15, the Panthers' lowest scoring output in a first half this season.
Pittsburgh trimmed its deficit to 27-22, however, by beginning the second on a 7-2 run in which Sheldon Jeter accounted for all of its points. The Panthers continued to stay within striking distance deep into the stanza, in large part due to a 5 1/2-minute scoring drought from the Cavaliers.
Brogdon eclipsed 1,000 career points by making two free throws with 1:06 left ... Virginia finished with a 26-14 advantage in points in the paint ... Pitt went just 9-of-17 from the foul line, compared to a 16-of-22 showing for the Cavaliers ... The Panthers' previous scoring low in the first half this season was 20 points, which came in a loss at NC State on Jan. 3 ... Pittsburgh, which made its first visit to Charlottesville since 1976, has now lost six straight in the series.