Virginia’s highly-rated defense didn’t look it self in the first half of Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech. The second half, and in particular the final 10 minutes, were a different story.
Virginia held Georgia Tech to one point over the final 9:52 and pulled away for its seventh consecutive victory 64-45 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Tech (12-12, 3-8) took a 44-42 lead when Marcus Georges-Hunt had a steal and feed to Kammeon Holsey for a lay up at the 9:52 mark. It was all Cavaliers from that point.
Starting with a pair of 2 for 2 trips to the free throw line for Joe Harris and Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia (19-5, 10-1) went on a 22-1 spurt to close the game. Meanwhile, the Charlottesville, Virginia school’s defense, which came into the game second nationally in scoring defense, didn’t allow a Tech field goal for nearly 10 minutes.
While Holsey’s bucket was the last field goal of the game, he hit a free throw at the 5:51 mark, and Tech was held scoreless the rest of the way.
On a pretty give-and-go, Chris Bolden found Robert Carter Jr. open in the corner for a 3-pointer and the Yellow Jackets led 41-37 at the 14:28 mark of the second half.
Virginia followed with an 14-3 run, capped by a steal and dunk from Brogdon and Joe Harris’ 3-pointer that gave the Cavaliers a 51-44 cushion with 6:14 to go.
Virginia couldn’t get any separation in the opening half, thanks to the shooting of sophomores Marcus Georges-Hunt and Bolden. Georges-Hunt had a pair of buckets in the early going, including a put back that put Tech up 10-7 at the 15:20 mark.
Later, Bolden got hot from long range. The Yellow Jackets knocked down five 3-pointers during a 7 1/2 minute stretch - three coming from Bolden - who with the shot clock at 2 got the hosts to within 29-28 with a long three at the 3:33 mark.
Daniel Miller’s lay up with 2 1/2 minutes to play in the first gave Tech a 30-29 lead, its first cushion since Hunt’s put back, and the Yellow Jackets took advantage that into the halftime break.
Virginia came into the game allowing opponents to shoot just 38 percent from the field, but Tech made 12 of 26 in the opening half, including 5 of 8 from three-point range.
Bolden led the hosts with 13 points, but just two came after halftime, part of a 6 for 23 team performance over the final 20 minutes. Brogdon led all scorers with 14 points and Harris and reserve Anthony Gill added 11 each for Virginia, which at 10-1 is off to its best league start since winning 12 of its first 13 games in 1981-1982.