South Bend, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Anderson made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:45 remaining, then added two free throws with 21.5 seconds left to lift the third-ranked Virginia Cavaliers over the 13th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 62-56, on Saturday.
Anderson ended with 11 points for the Cavaliers (15-0, 3-0 ACC), who are off to their best start since the 1980-81 season when they began 23-0 behind the play of the legendary Ralph Sampson.
"I think we came out with much better energy, much better effort in the second half," said Anderson. "Once again, we end up going up against somebody that can challenge us in different ways, whether it's an overtime game or whether it's down eight (points) in the game. It's always a different challenge and for us to break through and fight through, I think it's great for our team."
Darion Atkins added 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks for Virginia, which is one of just three unbeaten teams left in the country (Kentucky and Duke are the others). Malcolm Brogdon contributed 13 points.
Pat Connaughton ended with 21 points and eight rebounds for the Irish (15-2, 3-1), who had an 11-game winning streak snapped. Demetrius Jackson and V.J. Beachem each scored 12 points.
Notre Dame, which came in averaging 85.0 ppg, shot just 33.9 percent from the field and went 10-of-24 from beyond the arc.
"What a great ACC game. I'm really proud of our guys. We're disappointed," said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey. "I think you really need to give credit to Virginia. They made big jump shots when they had to and that gave them some space. They played like a team that's won a championship when they had to down the stretch."
Beachem made a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the first half to give the Irish a 27-24 lead.
Connaughton then scored Notre Dame's first seven points of the second half to open up a 34-26 margin. However, Virginia responded with a 13-3 run to go ahead 39-37.
The Irish tied the score at 53 on Jerian Grant's jumper with four minutes to play. Anderson made a 3-pointer at the other end to ignite a 9-0 Virginia surge.
Brogdon made a layup and two free throws around Anderson's two foul shots to make it 62-53. Notre Dame missed five shots during the stretch before Jackson hit a 3-pointer with two seconds to go. The Irish also had a turnover and Grant missed the front end of a one-and-one.
The Cavaliers have won eight straight, including two showdowns last season, over the Irish and lead the all-time series 8-1 ... Grant was held to six points and six assists ... Virginia shot 49 percent from the floor.