He did it again, man.
For the third straight game, Virginia point guard London Perrantes buried a dagger late to lock up a win for the Cavaliers.
Against No. 19 West Virginia two weeks ago, Perrantes scored 13 points in the second half, including three straight threes as Virginia pulled away from the Mountaineers. On Saturday, Perrantes scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, hitting three momentum-changing threes late in the game to help the ‘Hoos hold off No. 17 Villanova.
Tuesday night was the best yet, though.
Because it was the game-winner:
That three gave Virginia their first lead in overtime, capping a comeback from 62-57 down in the final minute as No. 5 Virginia knocked off Cal, 63-62. Perrantes finished with 10 points and six assists, while Malcolm Brogdon added 10 points and Anthony Gill led the way with 17.
[RELATED: Perrantes’ clutch play the key for Virginia’s season]
The issue here, however, is that Virginia, for the third game in a row, got off to a dreadful start. They shot 4-for-22 from the floor in a first half where they mustered all of 20 points, falling behind by as much as 11 points early in the second half; 11 points doesn’t sound like much, but at the pace that Virginia plays, 11 feels like 20.
They’ve been bailed out by the play of their big three — Perrantes, Brogdon and Gill — in the second half of games. There’s no questioning the ability of those three, but it’s a worrisome and frustrating trend that Virginia would do well to break by the start of ACC play next week.
[RELATED: What’s wrong with Virginia defensively this season?]
On the other side of the ball, this is going to be a dreadfully disappointing loss for Cal, who entered the season as a top 15 team and the favorite in the Pac-12 before losing a pair of games at a tournament in Las Vegas that dropped them out of the discussion. They should have won this game, and that is going to sting, particularly when it comes time to seed teams for the NCAA tournament.
That said, Cal should have beaten Virginia at Virginia. Maybe this team is starting to put it all together, and if they are, the Pac-12 is wide open enough that that could immediately vault them back into the league title discussion.