CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Ty Jerome scored 18 points and top-ranked Virginia held off depleted Georgia Tech 65-54 on Wednesday night, clinching the regular season title and top seed next month in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
The Cavaliers (25-2, 14-1), who also got nine points each from De’Andre Hunter and Mamadi Diakite, led just 31-30 at halftime and didn’t open a double-digit lead until just 5:14 remained.
Ben Lammers scored 22 points to lead the Yellow Jackets (11-17, 4-11), who lost their sixth in a row and 10th in the last 11 games. Tadric Jackson added 15.
Virginia led just 49-45 before Devon Hall hit a pair of free throws and Jerome followed with a 3-pointer, making it 54-45 with 8:46 to play. The Cavaliers finally got it to double figures on a dunk by Diakite that made it 60-49. Their largest lead all night was 12.
The regular-season title is the eighth in Virginia’s history and third in five years.
The ACC Tournament is March 8-10 at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are up against it, having lost their top two freshmen for the rest of the year with injuries, including No. 2 scorer Jose Alvarado (12.1 ppg), but Lammers and Jackson kept them in the game. Sophomore Josh Okogie started the game 50 shy of 1,000 for his career, but missed 7 of 10 shots and scored just seven points. Reinforcements will be appreciated.
Virginia: The Cavaliers were not sharp at either end in their first game in eight days. It could be that their flatness was in part because, after facing the struggling Yellow Jackets, they are to face a team in even worse shape, Pittsburgh.
The Yellow Jackets face another ranked team on the road, playing at No. 15 Clemson on Saturday.
Virginia goes on the road to face Pittsburgh, which entered the night winless in league play.