#5 UVA rallies, beats #12 UNC-Wilmington, 76-71

uva basketballFifth-seeded UVA rallied from a 15-point deficit, then held off #12 seed UNC-Wilmington late in a 76-71 win in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament East Regional.

Virginia (23-10) trailed 26-11 with 7:25 left in the first half after a Denzel Ingram three-pointer. Coach Tony Bennett, having to go without the services of post defensive stalwart Isaiah Wilkins, who is still struggling with the effects of a lingering viral illness, went to a five-guard lineup out of a timeout to try to slow the Seahawks’ roll, and it worked.

Wilmington went without a field goal for the final 7:25 as the Cavs closed on a 19-3 run to go to the break up 30-29.

UVA led by as many as 10 in the second half, but UNC-W cut the margin to two with 1:18 to go on a three by Chris Flemmings that made it 71-69 Virginia.

A pair of Darius Thompson free throws and a Devontae Cacok layup had it 73-71 with 54 seconds left.

Virginia worked clock on its next possession, and with the shot clock winding down, the ball ended up in the hands of Marial Shayok, who drove left and banked in a short jumper to make it 75-71 with 26 seconds left.

An Ingram turnover with 17 seconds left gave the ball back to UVA, and London Perrantes made one of two free throws to extend the lead to five.

Ingram missed a contested three with seven seconds left, and Virginia rebounded, and though Darius Thompson missed both ends of a two-shot foul with four seconds left, the outcome was not in doubt.

Perrantes finished with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Shayok had a career-high 23 points, shooting 8-of-13 from the floor and 3-of-4 from three-point range.

Thompson contributed 10 for Virginia, which shot 51 percent from the floor (26-of-51) and 43.8 percent from three-point range (7-of-16).

Flemmings had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Cacok had 12 points and 14 boards for UNC-Wilmington (29-6), which shot 40.3 percent from the field (25-of-62) and 37 percent from three-point range (10-of-27).

Wilmington was able to stay close with a big advantage on the boards against the four- and five-guard lineups that Bennett used to try to change momentum. The Seahawks had a 41-33 edge in rebounding, and had 14 offensive rebounds.

Virginia advances to play the winner of the Florida-East Tennessee State game in the second round of the East Regional on Saturday.

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
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