Virginia was able to survive Belmont’s streaky shooting and win 79-67. Belmont led early in this one, but a 13-0 run captured the lead for Virginia and the lead never changed hands after that. Malcolm Brodgen led Virginia with 16 in the first half, but went cold and missed all of his shots in the second. Belmont’s Craig Bradshaw was hot from deep as he made 5 of his 9 threes, but whenever Belmont tried to close the gap, Virginia weathered the storm and started to make plays. Belmont did not cower down from the 2-seed Virginia, but they will have to wait another year to claim their first tournament victory.
The star Justin Anderson shook off some more rust in this game today. He was able to score 15 points after not scoring any in his first two games back from his injury. He hit a big 3-pointer in the first half and sank 6 of his 7 free throws. He shot an efficient 66 percent from the field. Look for him to increase his productivity every game as he comes back. If he is able to provide scoring for the Cavaliers, then their chances of making a deep run increase significantly.
Belmont came roaring back to cut the Virginia lead to just 62-60 with 4:36 to play after a 3 from Bradshaw. Then Virginia realized that they are a 2 seed playing in the second round of the tournament and turned it on. Sparked by a London
Perrantes pull up jumper, Virginia went on a 9-0 run, mostly by free throws, to stretch the lead to 11. The Bruins never would recover, as the game would close. The Virginia defense held the Bruins to 7 points after the Bradshaw 3-pointer. The Cavaliers closed the game on a 17-7 run.
Strange, Yet True
Rick Byrd is the winningest college coach in the state of Tennessee with 321 wins as the Bruins head coach, yet he still has not been able to pull an upset and win a tournament game.
Virginia plays Michigan State on Sunday in a the Sweet 16 in a rematch of the same game in last year’s Sweet 16.
Belmont’s season comes to an end as OVC tournament champion and a 22-11 record.