CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Malcolm Brogdon thinks Virginia turned the corner with an impressive victory at No. 19 Louisville in its last game.
When the ninth-ranked Cavaliers struggled to get going offensively on Wednesday night against Boston College, Brogdon took it upon himself to make sure the good vibe kept flowing. The fifth-year senior scored 17 of his 27 points in the first half and the Cavaliers opened a lead as high as 25 points after halftime in a 61-47 victory, their fourth straight and 16th in a row at John Paul Jones Arena.
“I think we did turn a corner, but I think it’s important for us to keep our foot on the gas and keep pushing forward,” Brogdon said. “I just took my open shots. I tried not to force. I tried to play within the offense, but I took my open shots and took advantage of opportunities.”
Anthony Gill added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers (18-4, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who also won for the 31st time in their last 32 home games against ACC competition.
Brogdon’s offensive numbers drew the most praise, but Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett was equally appreciative of the defensive job he did on Eagles scoring leader Eli Carter, who came in averaging 17.3 points but missed eight of his 10 shots and finished with just seven points.
“He’s showing his completeness on both ends of the floor and leading well and of course we’ll need that,” Bennett said of Brogdon.
Sammy Barnes-Thompkins made four 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 14 points to lead the Eagles (7-15, 0-9).
Trailing 29-20 at halftime, B.C. scored on its first three possessions of the second half but trimmed only one point off the deficit as Gill hit two free throws and Brogdon made his fourth 3-pointer.
After two free throws by Garland Owens of the Eagles, Gill made three free throws, Devon Hall hit a 3-pointer and London Perrantes hit a baseline jumper, an 8-0 run that pushed the Virginia lead to 46-28 with 12 minutes left. The Cavaliers built their margin as high as 25 points before the Eagles cut into it late against reserves, scoring 11 consecutive points to make the final score look closer than the game ever felt.
Brogdon finished 7 of 10 from the field and 5 for 5 from behind the arc. The rest of the Cavaliers were just 10 for 32, but their resurgent defense limited the Eagles to 13 field goals in 49 tries, just 26.5 percent.
“They do what they do extremely well,” Eagles coach Jim Christian said, adding that he felt his team missed quality shots, but that Virginia’s defensive attention also was a big factor, as was Brogdon’s performance.
“He’s just a really smart basketball player,” Christian said.
Bennett removed his primary starters with about 5 minutes remaining.
Brogdon scored nine points and Gill had four as the Cavaliers closed the first half on a 13-5 run, turning a 16-15 lead into a 29-20 advantage.
Bennett was pleased with Virginia’s offensive balance in the victory at Louisville, but it was missing against the Eagles. Other than Brogdon and Gill, who got eight of his 10 points at the free throw line, no Cavalier scored more than five points.
Boston College: The Eagles had been outscored 120-59 at the free throw line in losing their first eight conference games. They were outscored 11-1 from the line in the first half, and 11-0 off turnovers. B.C.’s free throw deficit was just 18-13 by the final buzzer.
Virginia: With his first basket, a 3-pointer, Brogdon became the 18th 1,500-point scorer in Cavaliers history. He finished the game with 1,525. Next up on the career list are Mike Scott of the Atlanta Hawks, who scored 1,538, and Richard Morgan, who scored 1,540. … Evan Nolte made his first 3-pointer since the second game of the season, drawing a huge roar from the crowd.
Boston College plays at No. 19 Louisville on Saturday.
Virginia plays at Pittsburgh on Saturday.