CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- After Virginia's 12-point loss to Pittsburgh in January when the Cavaliers surrendered 88 points, head coach Tony Bennett said his team "got lost defensively" as they struggled to contain the Panthers' hot shooting.
While the Cavaliers were lost on defense that night, they found themselves Saturday afternoon in their regular-season finale.
No. 23 Virginia closed out its regular season strong with a 67-42 win over Pittsburgh to run its winning streak to three heading games into next week's ACC tournament.
Pittsburgh started cold and stayed cold in the loss, fitting for a team that has struggled to find an identity under first-year head coach Kevin Stallings. Virginia's defense, which has surrendered 85 points in the last two games, held the Panthers to 33 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers.
On senior day, guard London Perrantes ended his home career with a bang, scoring 22 points and knocking down his final shot attempt at John Paul Jones Arena before exiting the floor one last time.
"I told our guys before the game, 'a way to serve London is to lay it all on the line,' " Bennett said. "When he came out of the game I embraced him and said to him, 'we've had a lot of good times on this court.' I remember my senior day, my father and I walked off of the court, that's the last thing we did and I did the same with London today."
Virginia (21-9, 11-7 ACC) shot 44 percent from the field and knocked down 11 of 22 3-point attempts, including four by Perrantes.
"Defensively, our number one thing we talked about was taking away threes," Stallings said. "They (Virginia) feed off of them and we were not able to do that obviously."
Freshman Ty Jerome, who probably will be Perrantes' replacement at point guard next season, scored 13 points and dished out three assists.
Michael Young led Pittsburgh (15-16, 4-14) with 14 points, but was the only Panther to score in double figures.
"We were better, we were a little loose at times," Bennett said of his team's defensive effort. "Probably the lead helped us and in the second half we were able to establish ourselves."
Jamel Artis, who entered the game as Pittsburgh's second-leading scorer, was held to four points.
The Cavaliers outrebounded the Panthers 36-29 and got a career-high nine rebounds from center Jack Salt.
Virginia started the game on a 10-0 run, which quickly ballooned to a 19-2 spurt as Pittsburgh did not connect on its first field goal of the game until the 8:59 mark.
The Cavaliers shot 46 percent in the first half and took a 32-15 lead into the locker room. Perrantes led the way with 11 first-half points. Virginia led by as many as 21 during the first 20 minutes.
Pittsburgh shot 18 percent in the half and turned the ball over seven times. Despite not starting, Young led the Panthers with seven points in the first half.
NOTES: Virginia's win was their 150th at John Paul Jones Arena. ... London Perrantes is Virginia's all-time leader in games started. ... Pittsburgh's Michael Young leads the ACC in scoring, while teammate Jamel Artis ranks fifth. ... Freshman guard Justice Kithcart was dismissed from the team by Pittsburgh head coach Kevin Stallings on Friday. ... Young and Artis did not start for Pittsburgh and sat out the first 10 minutes of the game for being late to a team breakfast. ... Both teams continue their season at next week's ACC Tournament in Brooklyn
By Brandon Lloyd, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: March 4, 2017 02:07:07 PM
No. 23 Virginia routs Pitt
|All Times Eastern|