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The Cavaliers Made an Extended Run in the Second Half to Send West Virginia to its First Loss

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Virginia withstood a furious first half from West Virginia's press and outlasted the Mountaineers at Madison Square Garden, sending WVU to its first loss of the season.

No. 10 Virginia's highest turnover total in a single game this season heading into a matchup with WVU was seven. The Cavaliers turned the ball over 11 times in the first half against West Virginia's full-court press.

The Mountaineers had their way on the offensive glass in the first half, grabbing nine offensive rebounds and scoring 11 second chance points in the first 20 minutes.

No. 14 West Virginia built a lead as large as 12 in the first half. In its eight games to start this season, Virginia had not trailed by double digits.

The Cavaliers slowly chipped away at West Virginia’s lead, going on a 7-1 run at the end of the first half to turn a 12-point deficit into a 36-30 heading to the break.

West Virginia had a scoring drought of six-plus minutes at the end of the first half that wasn’t broken until nearly four and a half minutes into the second half, which aided the Cavalier run and made what looked to be teetering on a blowout into a hotly contested matchup.

Virginia guard London Perrantes, who was sidelined for the past two games after undergoing an appendectomy, was slow to warm-up in his return to action, but started to look like the player Cavalier fans have become accustomed to seeing over the past two years in the second half.

There was no doubt who made the car go for Virginia tonight, especially in the first half. Forward Anthony Gill filled up the stat sheet in the first 20 minutes, scoring 15 points and grabbing eight rebounds and keeping his team in the game when nobody else in blue and orange could provide any offense.

Virginia trailed for most of the first 25 minutes of this game, but took a 42-40 lead with 13:03 to play after a bad pass turnover by Jevon Carter in a two-on-one fast break led to a 3-pointer by Perrantes on the other end, giving the Cavs their first lead since 4-2 in the first minute of the game.

In the first half, the Mountaineers imposed their will and forced the Cavaliers to play their style of game. The script was flipped in the second half.

Led by an experienced guard combo of Perrantes, a three-year starter, and 23-year-old senior Malcolm Brogdon, the Cavaliers kept their cool in the face of the press for the most part as the game wore on.

The Cavaliers made it a half-court game in the second half, a style that suits them much better than WVU’s up-tempo pace, and found easy looks at the basket seemingly at will. That allowed the ‘Hoos to take control of the game and build a comfortable lead, while West Virginia struggled to find its footing on offense in the second half.

West Virginia’s go-to guy, junior forward Devin Williams, got into foul trouble early which limited his impact on the game. The Mountaineers’ best offensive option picked up his fourth foul with more than 5 minutes to play, and with Jevon Carter benched after his turnover, West Virginia could not find consistent production from anyone on the floor in the second half.

Williams fouled out with just under two minutes to play, but the outcome had been decided by that point. The Cavaliers put the clamps on WVU's offense and notched a 70-54 win over the Mountaineers. 

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