Next man up: #2 UVA wins without Anderson, Perrantes

uva basketballSecond-ranked UVA lost second-leading scorer Justin Anderson during its 52-47 win over then-#9 Louisville. The Cavs won their next three without Anderson, though the wins – over N.C. State, Wake Forest and Pitt – were anything but pretty.

They’re not going to hang a rendering of Sunday’s 51-41 win over Florida State in any museums anytime soon, but after Virginia lost point guard London Perrantes to a broken nose suffered in a collision with teammate Malcolm Brogdon with 14:39 to go, the Cavs had to have earned some style points from even their most ardent detractors.

“I saw London’s nose, and it didn’t look like where it should be,” UVA coach Tony Bennett said of the injury suffered by Perrantes, who collided with Brogdon as the two were defending a dribble handoff.

Perrantes ran face-first into Brogdon’s forehead, and was on the floor motionless for about 45 seconds, then emerged covered in blood.

Brogdon also had to leave the game, and came back on the court after getting three stitches to close up a cut on his forehead.

For two agonizing game minutes, which felt like an eternity for fans in a hushed John Paul Jones Arena, it looked like Virginia was going to have to go the rest of the way without any of its three starting guards.

“When London went out and Malcolm for a bit, we challenged the rest of our guys to dig down deep,” Bennett said.

The task to replace Perrantes and Brogdon in the lineup fell on the shoulders of a pair of freshmen, Marial Shayok and Devon Hall.

“We both knew that we had to step up. That is what Coach Bennett has been emphasizing all year. Next man up. We both came in prepared,” said Shayok, who played 24 minutes, scoring seven points on 2-of-4 shooting from the field, grabbed six rebounds and had a +11 rating.

Hall had two points and an assist in 12 minutes (and a -7 rating), but his one basket, a layup with 10:08 to go, would give Virginia a 38-37 lead, and the Cavs would never trail again, in large part because UVA held Florida State without a field goal from that point on.

Brogdon had already returned by that point; in fact, he returned with 12:59 to go, missing less than two minutes of game time to get stitched up.

The junior finished with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and four rebounds in 35 minutes (with a +10 rating).

The play on which he and Perrantes collided happened so quickly that Brogdon wasn’t able to reconstruct what happened with 100 percent certainty.

“London’s man had the ball. He started dribbling toward mine. They were about to hand it off. How we play that is London steps back and I get through, but it was so jammed I don’t even remember. I just remember hitting heads. I was trying to avoid him and I’m sure he was trying to avoid me, but it was happening too fast,” Brogdon said.

Senior forward Darion Atkins admitted after the game that he was surprised to see Brogdon return.

“I was actually really surprised when he came back. I thought we were going to have to play without him and London, but when he came back I was relieved. If we didn’t have him, I still think we would’ve finished it the right way,” said Atkins, who had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 28 minutes (and a +8 rating).

Atkins had two of the biggest baskets of the night for Virginia, which led 31-28 after Perrantes and Brogdon were walked back to the locker room after their collision. Virginia worked the ball into Atkins on the next two possessions, and the senior scored each time on baby hooks in the lane to help set the tone for the closing stretch.

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton credited Atkins for stepping up at that key stretch.

“When you lose a player for any reason, guys just have to step up,” Hamilton said. “When the game is on the line, you need guys to step up and make plays. I thought Atkins made two big baskets. Had he missed those then things might have been different, but since he had the experience and made them they were able to get some points.”

Virginia outscored Florida State 15-4 in the final 10:08. FSU missed its last 12 shots from the field, and the outcome could have been more lopsided in the final accounting if the Cavs could have converted at the foul line.

UVA was just 10-for-22 from the line in the second half, and a woeful 2-for-8 in the final 53 seconds.

Even with the struggles at the stripe, Virginia was able to get into some kind of offensive rhythm in the second half, shooting 56.3 percent from the field and scoring .967 points per possession, a number that would have looked much better with even an average night at the foul line.

Consider, now, that the Cavs were able to do this without Perrantes, without Anderson.

A 51-41 win isn’t going to silence the critics who think Virginia’s 25-1 record is bad for college basketball, but it’s a win just the same, from a team that is now effectively 5-0 without its All-America candidate, and 1-0 with him and its point guard sitting beside each other.

“There were enough stops, and it was what we had to do. I thought our guys responded well in a tough situation,” Bennett said.

– Story by Chris Graham


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