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#1 UVa. holds off #5 Pitt, 51-48, to advance to ACC Tournament final

uva-logo-new2Top seed UVa. seemed ready to run away from #5 Pitt. It ended up being the Wahoo defense that sent the program to its first ACC Tournament final in 20 years.

Justin Anderson blocked a potential James Anderson game-tying three-pointer with three seconds left, and Virginia held on for a 51-48 win over the Panthers on Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum.

The ‘Hoos (27-6, 18-2 ACC) led 45-37 at the 9:30 mark on a jumper by Anthony Gill, but would go scoreless for the next 5:57 as Pitt (25-9, 13-8 ACC) inched back into the game.

A Joe Harris layup at the 3:33 mark broke the drought and gave Virginia some breathing room at 47-42, but Pitt was not done. A steal and layup by Robinson with 11 seconds left cut the lead to one at 49-48, and set up a situation where Pitt needed to foul to put UVa. into a one-and-one.

Anthony Gill, a 62.5 percent free-throw shooter, ended up on the line with 8.8 seconds to go. With the game riding on the result, Gill made both free throws to extend the margin to three.

Virginia at that point had just four team fouls in the second half, and was able to commit two fouls to take precious seconds away from Pitt on its last effort to stay alive. The ball eventually ended up in the hands of Robinson, who pump-faked once and had his shot partially blocked by Anderson. The ball ended up in the hands of Gill with five-tenths of a second to go.

Gill missed the front end of the next one-and-one, but Pitt was not able to get a shot off after the rebound.

Virginia, which led 26-24 at the half, had won at Pitt in a similarly tight game on Super Bowl Sunday by a 48-45 final.

Harris led the ‘Hoos with 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field. Brogdon and Gill scored 10 each, and Akil Mitchell had eight points and eight rebounds for Virginia, which shot 46.7 percent from the field (21-of-45) and held Pitt to 36.7 percent shooting (18-of-49) on the afternoon.

The Cavs advance to their first ACC Tournament final since 1994. UVa. has won just one ACC Tournament championship in school history, way back in 1976.