When Boston College's Danny Rubin hit a three-point jumper to tie the game at 44, even the most faithful of Virginia fans had to be concerned that a season that started so promisingly was teetering on the edge of disaster.
There was 10:29 to go in the game when Rubin scored. The Cavaliers were at a crossroads. Facing most or all of the remaining ACC season without their defensive stalwart, Assane Sene, in the middle, this was an absolute "must win" for Virginia. They had to respond to the challenge.
And respond they did.
With six different players scoring, the Cavaliers went on a 22-3 run over the next 9:55 to put away the upset-minded Eagles.
Virginia received a balanced scoring effort led by Mike Scott with a game-high 18 points. Akil Mitchell, making his second consecutive start in Sene's absence had 10 points and five rebounds. Jontel Evans also had 10 points to go along with six assists and three steals. An ailing Joe Harris and Sammy Zeglinski each chipped in with eight points.
Zeglinski's recent shooting woes were still evident until late in the game when he hit two straight three-pointers to seal the win and draw two of the biggest roars of the night from an appreciative John Paul Jones Arena crowd.
Freshman Malcolm Brogdon saw his playing time increase with Harris under the weather, and he responded with a game-high seven rebounds and six points. Another freshman, Darion Atkins, completed the Cavaliers' scoring with six points.
For Virginia it was yet another game of inconsistent play. In the first half the offense staggered out of the gate, trailing 13-12 midway through the half.
After the break, it was the defense that disappeared for 10 minutes, allowing BC to shoot 7-12 from the field and 4-7 from beyond the arc.
UVA's stat line was solid across the sheet. They shot 27-53 from the field and 4-10 from behind the arc. They also were a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line.
For the game the 'Hoos outrebounded BC, 29-24. Their floor game was also outstanding, as they had 16 assists to only eight turnovers plus 10 steals.
The win moved the 21st-ranked Cavaliers into fifth place in the ACC with a 3-2 record. Boston College fell to 2-4 in the conference.
Virginia travels to fourth-place NC State on Saturday. Boston College returns home to host Miami on Sunday.
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