No. 12 Virginia routs No. 4 Syracuse 75-56 for 1st in ACC
- Virginia center Mike Tobey, center, is smothered by Syracuse forward C.J. Fair (5) and forward Jerami Grant, left, during the first half of an NCAA College basketball game in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, March 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Malcolm Brogdon scored eight of his 19 points during a decisive second-half run and No. 12 Virginia clinched the top seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament by beating No. 4 Syracuse 75-56 on Saturday.
Akil Mitchell added 12 points and nine rebounds and Mike Tobey and Justin Anderson scored 11 each for the Cavaliers (25-5, 16-1 ACC), who won their only outright ACC regular season title 33 years ago - 1980-81 - when Ralph Sampson was a sophomore. The victory was their 13th in a row and the final buzzer brought hundreds streaming onto the court.
Tyler Ennis and C.J. Fair scored 13 each for the Orange (26-3, 13-3), who lost for the third time in four games. Syracuse played much of the game without ailing Jerami Grant because of a sore back.
As they have so often this season, Virginia took command with a second-half spree fed in part by its defense, and in part by a celebrating sell-out crowd, many of whom stood throughout the second half.
Brogdon broke a 42-all tie with two free throws, and then hit a jumper from the foul line. After a turnover by the Orange, London Perrantes hit a deep 3-pointer that gave the Cavaliers a 49-42 lead.
Rakeem Christmas' dunk after a Syracuse timeout quieted the crowd, but only for a minute because Anderson made a 3-pointer from the right side, Brogdon followed an Orange miss with a jumper and then followed another miss with a jumper. The lead was 56-45 with 5:15 remaining and fans sensed that the Cavaliers were in the process of putting the game away.
Ennis, playing with four fouls, hit a pair of free throws to slow the run, but Joe Harris hit a free throw, and then followed a Syracuse miss with a 3-pointer, his first basket in nine tries, causing the crowd to erupt in appreciation for the four-year starter. Harris was removed with 38.9 seconds left to a deafening cheer at Jones Paul Jones Arena.
Virginia had first-half runs on 9-0 and 8-2 in building a 22-15 lead, but a jumper by Faor and Ennis' 3-pointer - the first of the game - with 5:14 left in the half sparked 13-2 burst for the Orange.
Cooney, who had missed 22 of his last 27 3-point shots, and Richmond native Michael Gbinije then connected back-to-back from beyond the arc for Syracuse, and Rakeem Christmas' dunk made it 28-24.
Justin Anderson hit a 3, Virginia's first, with 47 seconds left and it was 28-27 at the half.