Gill, Brogdon Power No. 6 Virginia to 82-57 win
Nov. 19, 2015
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) Virginia coach Tony Bennett lost his voice at practice this week after his team lost at George Washington. He’ll take if the sixth-ranked Cavaliers keep playing like this.
Bennett saw lapses on defense, failures to execute on offense and too little team-based play at critical times in the GW loss. He put his team through some difficult, wearing practices to get it corrected.
”My voice is gone because of those practices,” Bennett said hoarsely. ”But I think the guys responded.”
That was apparent after a slow first 13 minutes by the Cavaliers (2-1), who trailed Bradley (1-2) 22-19 after two straight 3-pointers by Luuk Van Bree. That was the wake-up call Virginia needed as it began an 18-3 run to close the opening half and put the game away.
”I knew it was going click,” said London Perrantes, who had 12 points for Virginia. ”I feel like we definitely had to come out and respond. It’s early. It’s only our third game and we’re still trying to figure out some things. It was just good to go out there again after Monday and play a game.”
Virginia will face Long Beach State on Friday night for a spot Sunday in the championship game.
The Braves (1-2) are one of the youngest teams in the country, starting four freshman against the ACC powerhouse. Eventually, the Cavaliers experience took control.
Van Bree had 16 points, off four 3-pointers, to lead Bradley.
Gill hit six of his eight field goals. He added seven rebounds and two steals.
Virginia’s loss at George Washington was certainly an early-season shocker. It took the Cavaliers a while to get past it at the TD Arena.
But after Van Bree’s second consecutive 3-pointer put the Braves in front, Virginia received the wake-up call it needed.
The Cavaliers ripped off an 18-3 run in the half’s final seven minutes, showing power, smarts and top-notch defense. Gill had six points in the run, including a powerful jam that brought the few hundred Virginia fans here at TD Arena to their feet.
By the time Brogdon dropped in a basket in the final minute, the Cavaliers were ahead by double digits.
Bradley coach Brian Wardle said youth was not an excuse for poor defense, which allowed Virginia to shoot 56.6 percent (30 of 53) for the game.
”That’s unacceptable,” Wardle said. ”We’ve got to get a lot better. More concentration. More effort.”
Bradley made just one of its final eight field goals of the half. The Braves committed four turnovers during Virginia’s decisive run.
Things continued Virginia’s way after the break. Gill had eight of the Cavaliers’ first 13 points of the period to put them ahead 50-32. The margin eventually grew to 31 points in the final few minutes.
The Cavaliers made nine straight shots during a stretch in the second half, which saw the lead grow from 16 points to 70-44. Virginia coach Tony Bennett said it was a good showing by a team that needed it.
Bradley was blown out by a Top 25 team for the second straight game. It fell 90-60 at No. 12 Arizona this past Monday.
Bradley: The Braves have 10 freshmen on their 14-man roster, the most the team has suited up since freshman eligibility was restored in college basketball in 1972. Bradley had only eight freshman combined on its rosters of the previous three seasons.
Virginia: The Cavaliers have been among the top 10 in The AP college basketball rankings for 25 straight weeks, dating back to March 3, 2014. That is Virginia’s long stretch since going 49 polls in the top 10 from 1980-83.
Virginia plays Long Beach State in a winner’s bracket game Friday.
Bradley plays Seton Hall in a loser’s bracket game Friday.