ATLANTA -- Malcolm Brogdon had a wonderful homecoming.
Virginia's third-year guard, who grew up in an Atlanta suburb, scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the 20th-ranked Cavaliers 64-45 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
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"It means a lot (to play well)," Brogdon said after shooting 3-for-12 yet making all seven of his free throws while adding three assists and a steal. "I love playing in front of my family and friends."
He had about 15 or 20 friends at the game.
The Cavs (19-5, 10-1 ACC) took about 30 minutes to figure out their surroundings, and then held the Yellow Jackets (12-12, 3-8) without a field goal for the final 9:51 while outscoring Georgia Tech 22-1 to secure their seventh straight win.
Georgia Tech's final lead came with 9:52 remaining, when Kammeon Holsey completed a three-point play to push the Yellow Jackets up 44-42.
The game then turned so dramatically that it was hard to remember that Tech sophomore guard Chris Bolden scored 11 of his 13 points while leading the injury-ravaged Yellow Jackets to a 30-29 halftime lead.
After Joe Harris made pair of three throws with 9:31 remaining to tie the score at 44, the injury-ravaged Yellow Jackets played as if somebody opened a trap door beneath them.
They lost 45-41 Tuesday at Clemson with just seven scholarship players. Two more returned to action against Virginia, but leading scorer and guard Trae Golden had no points or assists, and forward Robert Carter Jr. managed but five points and two rebounds. Both came off the bench.
Carter fumbled away a ball to lead to a pair of free throws by Brogdon for a 46-44 Virginia lead with 7:06 remaining. Moments later, Brogdon stole a pass by Georgia Tech center Daniel Miller and went for an uncontested dunk.
Tech called timeout with 6:37, trailing 48-44, and would never tie nor lead again.
"There were two or three turnovers where we didn't even get shots up," said Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory. "We weren't strong enough or tough enough on the offensive end in those last eight minutes . . . the first 33 minutes we did some good things."
The Yellow Jackets took the lead when Miller spun on the right baseline and banked a shot in for the 30-29 lead at the 2:34 mark. Miller finished with nine points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots.
Virginia failed to score in the final 5:03 of the first half, when Georgia Tech limited the Cavs to 36.7 percent shooting.
The game remained tight for the first 10-plus minutes of the second half before a finish that belied a contest in which there were 13 lead changes and six ties.
From the time Georgia Tech took a 41-37 lead on Carter's 3-pointer from the left corner with 14:46 remaining, the Cavs outscored the Yellow Jackets 27-4.
"It really was something to see that happen," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said of his team's closing kick. (Tech is) out of sync with the injuries. I thought (Gregory) had them so ready . . .
"They had us reeling a little bit early, and I don't know if when we got a little bit of a lead it changed, but Joe hit a big three in the corner and it just separated."
A Harris trey made the score 51-44. He and Anthony Gill added 11 points each for Virginia.
The Yellow Jackets missed their final nine shots and final three free throw attempts in a game where they shot 3-for-13 from the line and were out-rebounded 46-25.
Virginia created much of the rebounding disparity with guards Brogdon and freshman London Perrantes (four). The Cavs also had a 27-8 edge in bench points.
"That's what we try to do," Brogdon said. "We try to be patient on offense and use 30 to 35 seconds, and . . . we try to wear them down on defense. That's exactly the way we want to play. We think we have great depth and we're able to get after guys defensively."
Team Notes (courtesy of UVa athletics)
• Virginia improved to 10-1 in the ACC, its best start to a conference season since starting 12-1 in 1981-82
• The Cavaliers posted their ninth ACC double-digit win of the season, tying the school-record nine double-digit conference wins in 1982-83
• Virginia has recorded five ACC road wins for the first time since 1994-95 and seven straight league wins for the first time since 2006-07
• Virginia improved to 2-4, 2-1 ACC when trailing at the half
• Virginia had the same starting lineup (Tobey, Harris, Brogdon, Perrantes, Mitchell) for the 11th consecutive game, the longest streak with the same starting lineup in the Tony Bennett era
• Virginia shot a season-high 89.5 percent (17-of-19) from the free throw line
• Malcolm Brogdon (14 pts, 11 rebs) had his second career double-double
• Malcolm Brogdon scored in double figures for the 11th consecutive game and the 17th time this season (22nd time in his career)
• Anthony Gill (11 pts) scored in double figures for the eighth time this season
• Joe Harris (11 pts) reached double figures for the 15th time (84th career)
• Darion Atkins matched a season high with eight points off the bench
Player Career Highs
• Malcolm Brogdon tied a career high with 11 rebounds
GEORGIA TECH COACH BRIAN GREGORY
"We played a really good team today that down the stretch made every play. I give them credit. I thought for 34 minutes we executed well both offensively and defensively. Unfortunately just down the stretch, we weren't able to take care of the basketball. I think those three or four possessions in a row that were turnovers were back-breakers, especially in the last two rounds of the game, the last eight minutes. They led to easy baskets on the other end, transitions baskets, and then we got down and stretched a little bit and they took advantage of that with their execution on offense. I'm disappointed in how that thing ended in those last seven minutes. In the first 33 minutes we did some good things. You have to play extremely well for 40 minutes with a lot of grit and toughness against that team. We just weren't able to finish it. I was disappointed, now we just have to regroup and get ready for Wednesday."
On what led to the breakdown that led to the Virginia run at the end of the game:
"We were 3-13 from the free throw line, so we didn't make any free throws the whole game. We didn't take care of the basketball. There were two or three turnovers that we didn't get shots up. We just weren't strong enough and tough enough on the offensive end in those last eight minutes. We did a great job against their trap, which created a lot of good offensive stuff for us. I thought Daniel played well, I thought Kam did a lot of good things for us as well. You can't give up 13 offensive rebounds to Virginia, they're just too efficient on offense. If you give them those second opportunities, you're giving yourself a big problem. One-third of their points came from our turnovers and us not getting the defensive rebounds."
On the rebounding difficulties and final disparity:
"You'd be hard pressed to watch us play and not say we're playing hard. It's little bit of toughness both in mindset and physicality. Mindset not in terms of effort, but in terms of going back and scrapping and getting in there. There are times where you look at our perimeter players – they didn't rebound well enough for us today. That's just a fact. We need those guys rebounding. Daniel got seven defensive rebounds, Kam got three. Trae played eight minutes, he's healthy but not at full speed, he got two. We've got other guys who played a lot of minutes and didn't get any. We need those guys on the glass. Especially until Robert gets back into shape and can really play effectively, we have to team rebound. That means our ones, our twos and our threes have to do a great job on the glass. Our guards have to be engaged."
On Trae Golden's limited capabilities:
"What we have to do with him is get back to the rehab for the next couple of days. It was good that he was able to get out there and he felt fine, but he's obviously not at the explosiveness that he had before. It's back to the rest and the rehab and we'll see if he takes a step in the next couple of days. He's got a little bit more on Wednesday and then it's a week off until we play again."
On the return of Robert Carter Jr.:
"I thought he was a little bit rusty. He played 16 minutes, we thought somewhere between 14-17 minutes would be good. Out of rhythm at times on offense, held the ball a little too long. You can't hold the ball for too long against Virginia because of how their defense shifts and loads that ball side. You've got to keep that ball moving and then attack them. Overall I thought we needed to get him back out there, but it will be a couple weeks before he's playing at the level that he can play at."
VIRGINIA COACH TONY BENNETT
On late run:
"It was really was something to see that happen. Brian (Gregory) does a great job with his team, because they are out of sync with their injuries that they've faced. He had them so ready. It was so hard for us to get good looks early, perhaps we were impatient. When we did get to the lane, (Daniel) Miller cleaned up everything. He's so mobile and big. They're so physical."
On Georgia Tech:
"They're a very talented team, but they've just been hit by the injury bug. They haven't been able to get it going."
"That concerned us. We talked about ‘hitting and holding' on the blockouts. Couple of times we didn't, and that's when they got it. If you weren't airtight on your blockouts and getting after it, you're in trouble."
On winning on the road in ACC:
"You go on the road, like here, and it's a war. We were in a fight. We weren't particularly playing well. Georgia Tech did a heck of a job. You just keep hanging in there, and then you have a run like that. Things happen, and we capitalized on it. We're fortunate."