Virginia goes on offensive, downs Butler

By The Sports Xchange  |  March 20, 2016 at 1:03 AM
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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Virginia's offense can carry the Cavaliers, too.

That's how it turned out when Virginia used stunningly efficient offense in a hot-shooting second half to overcome Butler 77-69 on Saturday night in an NCAA Tournament second-round game at PNC Arena.

Virginia, which has a reputation as a defensive-minded team, made 73 percent of its second-half shots.

"We knew Butler will not lose," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said he told his team. "You're going to have go to beat them."

Guard Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points and forward Anthony Gill added 19 for the Cavaliers, who shot 56.9 percent from the field in the game.

"Once I got it going in the second half, I could kick it out to those guys," Gill said of teammates knocking down shots.

Virginia (28-7), the Midwest Region's top-seeded team, meets Iowa State in the Sweet 16 on Friday night in Chicago.

A year ago, the Cavaliers were upset victims in this round so they were determined to keep this season going. Now, they're headed to the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons.

"We know how we felt last year around this time," Gill said. "We had to attack the whole game."

The Cavaliers made 12 of their first 13 second-half shots from the field, yet still led only 55-53.

But by scoring on 18 of their first 21 possessions in the second half, the Cavaliers pulled away. They also scored the last five points of the game as part of a 54-point second half.

Reserve guard Marial Shayok scored 12 points, hitting double figures in consecutive games for the first time since November. Virginia center Mike Tobey made all five of his shots from the field for 10 points.

"I just wanted to create some energy because we have so much depth on our team," Shayok said. "It means a lot that they have confidence in me."

Forward Andrew Chrabascz scored a season-high 25 points for Butler, including 12 straight for his team during one stretch. He made his first four 3-point attempts.

"We worked all year for this and we put ourselves in position to win," Chrabascz said.

Virginia switched Brogdon to defend Chrabascz after a second-half burst and he scored only one point after that.

Forward Roosevelt Jones had 18 points for ninth-seeded Butler (22-11), which was 21-3 in games it led at halftime until Saturday.

Virginia scored on its first six possessions of the second half, taking a brief four-point lead. But because Butler hit three 3-point baskets during the stretch and had a three-point play, the Bulldogs held a 39-34 advantage.

Jones said the Cavaliers appeared determined to drive the ball in the second half. The Bulldogs didn't have a consistent answer.

"They started taking the ball to the basket and posting up," Jones said. "Brogdon got going and he opened up space for everyone on the team."

The Cavaliers altered their lineup and that seemed to set a tone in the second half.

"That four-guard lineup was something we did in the Clemson game and it was effective then, and we did it again," Gill said.

The Cavaliers kept up their offensive efficiency and Gill's three-point play gave them a 64-55 advantage with 5:59 remaining.

Gill provided another key basket off an offensive rebound for a 68-61 edge. He was 7-of-9 from the field.

Jones scored for Butler off a turnover and it was 70-66 with less than two minutes left. At the 36-second mark, Jones made the first of two free throws as Butler closed to within 72-69.

Shayok made one free throw with 28 seconds left and Butler was unable to score again.

Butler led 25-23 at halftime, holding Virginia to 40 percent shooting from the floor. It was a tight first half with several three-point leads for Butler being the largest margin.

Chrabascz was 5-for-6 from the field for the Bulldogs in the opening half.

"There was just open area and (my teammates) were finding me," he said.

Brogdon and Tobey combined for six of Virginia's 10 first-half field goals. The Cavaliers were 1 of 5 on 3-pointers before the break.

After a rather careless outing with turnovers in Thursday's victory over Texas Tech, Butler had only two first-half turnovers.

NOTES: This was the first meeting between these teams. ... This was Butler's sixth time facing a regional No. 1 seed, winning two of the previous times by defeating Syracuse in 2010 and Pittsburgh in 2011. Both those teams have since joined the Atlantic Coast Conference, where Virginia holds membership. ... Virginia senior G Malcolm Brogdon moved to ninth place on the school's career scoring list with his first point Saturday. He started the day with 1,763 points. ... Butler senior F Roosevelt Jones set the school record for career starts with his 134th, snapping a time with former player Matt Howard. ... Butler G Tyler Lewis, a transfer from site host North Carolina State, was on Wolfpack teams that went 1-2 against Virginia before he changed schools. ... Virginia increased its winning streak to eight games at PNC Arena, with four victories against North Carolina State and three others in NCAA Tournament play.

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