Pittsburgh tied the score against No. 9 Virginia shortly out of halftime and, after a back-and-forth first half, the teams looked as if they would fight to the final second.
The Cavaliers then made 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions to open up a double-digit lead. This one would be different.
Virginia stifled the Panthers in the second half and earned a 64-50 victory in Pittsburgh Saturday.
“We knocked down shots the whole game,” guard Malcolm Brogdon said. “We continued to do that and we started to get stops. And when we started to get stops, the lead started going.”
Brogdon scored 21 points for Virginia (19-4, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) while guard London Perrantes added 14.
The Cavaliers used a 12-0 run early in the period to extend their lead into double-digits where it stayed for the rest of the game. Virginia limited Pitt to 38 percent shooting and forced eight turnovers in the second half.
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett noted some of those turnovers were the result of bad decisions made by the Panthers, but credited his players for proper positioning throughout the game.
“This was one of our better position games defensively for most of the day,” Bennett said. “We were always in the right spots.”
Forward Jamel Artis scored 17 points to lead Pitt (17-5, 6-4). Forward Michael Young posted his fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“We were only down by two at halftime and we hit a couple shots but didn’t respond,” Artis said. “I think that’s what we lacked.”
Virginia took a 10-6 lead early behind 3-point makes by Brogdon and Perrantes. The Cavaliers made 4 of 6 field goals to start the game.
Bennett liked the way Brogdon initiated offense for himself and the team at the beginning of the game, which led to an efficient game for Brogdon. Virginia also shot 48 percent Saturday.
“We’re getting him good looks and he’s making good decision,” Bennett said. “He again had a very efficient, very strong [game].”
Artis' 3-pointer and Young's hook shot in the lane out of the first timeout gave the Panthers their first lead of the game at 11-10 seven minutes in.
The Cavaliers held Pitt scoreless for roughly three minutes. Forward Evan Nolte hit a 3-pointer with 8:45 left in half to cap a 9-0 run which gave Virginia a 21-13 lead.
Artis' second 3-point make cut Pitt's deficit to three, 24-21, but Virginia continued its hot shooting and led 29-23 with three minutes left in the half.
Pittsburgh held Virginia scoreless in the half's final 3:52 and closed to within two points, 29-27, of the Cavaliers at halftime.
The Panthers tied the game at 31-all out of the half but Virginia hit 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions to reassert control. Guard Devon Hall's layup and and-one free throw capped a 12-0 run that put Virginia up 43-31.
Once Virginia took a commanding lead, Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon knew his team faced an arduous climb back into the game. The second-half turnovers only made it tougher.
“We took care of the ball in the first half,” Dixon said. “It seemed like we forced stuff in the second half in trying to come back from a deficit.”
Pitt came within 11 points multiple time but was unable to drop Virginia's lead to single-digits. The Cavaliers took a 15-point lead at the under-8 timeout. The Cavaliers took their largest lead at 19 points after forward Anthony Gill's dunk and a Perrantes layup out of the break.