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No. 4 Virginia gets past No. 11 Miami in ACC semifinal

By The Sports Xchange   |   March 12, 2016 at 2:04 AM

WASHINGTON -- Virginia is often defined because of its defense and the No. 4 Cavaliers showed why Friday night.

Virginia kept No. 11 Miami at a safe distance during most of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament semifinal, winning 73-68 at the Verizon Center.

"Any time we can get another team to turn the ball over that many times, we try to capitalize on it. I think we did tonight," Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon said. "We ran at the gaps, swiping at the ball."

Brogdon, the ACC Player of the Year, did his part on offense, too. He scored 24 points, including several clutch baskets, as Virginia began to pull away.

Second-seeded Virginia (26-6) won the rubber match after the teams split in the regular season and tied for second place.

The Cavaliers, who will meet top-seeded North Carolina in Saturday night's championship game, will be aiming for their second tournament title in three years.

"We look forward to the opportunity and we'll have to be at our best," said Virginia coach Tony Bennett, whose team won at home in the only regular-season game with North Carolina.

Virginia guard London Perrantes, who scored 11 points, left briefly with 5:32 with an undisclosed injury before returning. Guard Marial Shayok added 10 points but fouled out with 21.2 seconds remaining after missing two foul shots.

The Cavaliers made 8 of 12 free throws in the final minute. Brogdon was 4 of 4 in that stretch, including two to clinch it.

"You've just got to step up to the line and be confident in yourself and knock them down," he said. "I feel that's one of my roles on this team."

The 16 turnovers were too much for the Hurricanes to overcome.

"That's just not like us," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "That was really the difference in the game."

Reserve guard Ja'Quan Newton poured in 19 points for third-seeded Miami (25-7). Guard Sheldon McClellan's 15 points before fouling out in the last minute and forward Ivan Cruz Uceda's eight points kept the Hurricanes within range for most of the game.

The lack of ball security bothered the Hurricanes.

"Against a team like Virginia, you got to work the ball, body movement, move the ball quicker than you do against most other teams," McClellan said.

Brogdon's drive for a bucket with 8:07 left gave Virginia a 52-46 edge. The Cavaliers' next basket came on Brodgon's move in the lane as Virginia was on the way to a 13-point lead.

In many ways, the beginning was even worse for Miami, which fell into a double-digit hole in the first half.

"We were really anxious to start the game," Larranaga said. "We didn't do the things we were planning on doing and dug ourselves a quick hole."

Miami guard Angel Rodriguez, who matched his season high with 19 points one night earlier against Virginia Tech, was scoreless in the first half. He had five points in just more than six minutes to begin the second half as Miami within 42-39 on his way to finishing with nine points.

Miami scored the last six points of the first half to cut into an 11-point deficit. Virginia restored the 11-point margin with 3:54 on Shayok's layup.

Miami shot 54.8 percent from the field for the game.

Virginia led 36-31 at the half, but Miami had weathered several dicey situations.

Virginia stormed to a 10-2 lead and had chances for more.

It was 27-17 after guard Darius Thompson hit a 3-point basket, delighting the overwhelming Virginia crowd. That was Thompson's first 3 since a game-winning launch on Jan. 26 at Wake Forest.

Miami didn't take advantage of four consecutive misses from the Cavaliers during one stretch of the half.

But forward Ivan Cruz Uceda posted eight of Miami's first 19 points, eclipsing his season average of 5.7 points per game.

The Hurricanes picked up the pace by scoring 10 points in the last 3:31 of the first half. Newton scored six of those.

NOTES: Miami appeared in the semifinals for the third time and Virginia made it this far for the third year in a row. ... Miami was coming off a quarterfinal victory over Virginia Tech when it shot 56.6 percent from the field for its best rate in an ACC Tournament game. ... Virginia's 72-52 romp past Georgia Tech in Thursday's quarterfinals marked the most lopsided ACC tournament victory for the Cavaliers since a 29-point decision against Georgia Tech in 1983. ... Virginia secured the program's seventh 25-win season this week. ... Virginia and Miami split regular-season games, with each side winning at home.

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