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Virginia tops No. 18 Pitt in nail-biter, 48-45

Brogdon's last-second three secures Cavaliers’ first ranked win

Redshirt sophomore guard Malcolm Brogdon nailed a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left on the clock as the Virginia men’s basketball team posted its most important win of the season thus far, a 48-45 nail-biter on the road against No. 18 Pittsburgh. Brogdon finished with 16 points in the Cavaliers’ first victory against a ranked opponent this season.

The game was close from the opening tip, as neither team was able to do much offensively early on. More than 10 minutes into the game, the teams had combined for just 16 points and were tied at 8-8. Senior guard Joe Harris was limited in the first half after picking up two fouls — he had just three points at halftime.

Virginia (17-5, 8-1 ACC) shot just 37.5 percent from the field in the first half, but managed to stay in the game with strong rebounding — the team had eight offensive rebounds in the opening half. The Panthers (18-4, 6-3 ACC) were equally mediocre from the field, shooting an identical 37.5 percent. Pitt led 23-21 at halftime, capitalizing on a Virginia turnover for a layup with one second remaining. It was Virginia’s lowest halftime total since scoring 21 points against Northern Iowa Dec. 21.

The teams battled again in the second half, with neither team leading by more than four points in the game. Harris found his shot after the break, scoring eight points on 3-for-7 shooting, though he was just 1-for-4 from the free-throw line. Senior forward Akil Mitchell contributed 10 points and 12 rebounds — his second double-double of the season — as Virginia finished with a slight 33-32 rebounding advantage.

The Cavaliers took a 34-33 lead with 12:07 to play — their first since a 19-17 advantage before halftime — but the teams would trade leads for the remainder of the game. In all, there were seven lead changes in the game.

Harris put Virginia up 41-38 with 8:13 to play, but Pitt would take a 44-41 lead two minutes later on a wild banked 3-point shot from redshirt junior Cameron Wright as the shot clock expired. Virginia did not make a field goal for more than eight minutes following Harris’s three, but managed to tie the game at 45-45 through free throws.

After a Pitt timeout with 43 seconds to play, the Panthers missed two shots to go ahead, and redshirt sophomore forward Anthony Gill pulled down the ensuing rebound to give Virginia the ball with nine seconds left. Coach Tony Bennett called a timeout to prepare a play, and freshman guard London Perrantes found Brogdon, who made the shot to seal the game.

With the win, Virginia moves to 17-5 overall and 8-1 in the ACC — just a half game behind No. 2 Syracuse for first place in the conference. The Cavaliers return to action Wednesday when they host Boston College at 7 p.m.