UVA Beats Maryland In OT; Earns Bye In ACC Tournament
The Virginia men's basketball team overcame a 17 point first half deficit to beat Maryland 61-58 in the regular season finale Sunday at John Paul Jones Arena.
The victory gives UVA (21-10, 11-7 ACC) the 4-seed in the ACC Tournament.
The Cavaliers have a bye in the first round, and will play the winner of 5) NC State and 12) Virginia Tech Friday at two o'clock in Greensboro, NC.
The Wahoos finish the season with 17-straight wins at home.
After two closes losses on the road, UVA needed a win to avoid dropping to the 5-seed, and playing the first round of the ACC Tournament.
Head coach Tony Bennett says, "I know there's implications of all the stuff going on. We can't control that. But we could control coming back after a couple of tough losses, and get that 4-seed, and finish as high as we could. It didn't look probable, but they gutted it out, and that's a credit to them."
Virginia trailed 32-19 at halftime.
The 'Hoos never led in the second half, but tied the game at 54-54 on an inbounds play to freshman center Mike Tobey with five seconds left.
Tobey tipped in a missed shot with 1:47 to go in OT to give UVA a 60-58 advantage.
Junior forward Akil Mitchell scored a game-high 17 points, and also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Mitchell says, "To be able to pull this one out is a great way to finish the season, and a great win to propel us into the ACC tournament."
Junior guard Joe Harris struggled from the floor, making just 4-of-18 shots, but hit a big three-pointer with 1:37 remaining in regulation to tie the game for the first time since it was 6-6 in the first quarter.
"This is big momentum for us," says Harris. "For us to be able to finish the regular season like this, going into the tournament, now we're the 4-seed, and we get a bye, which is huge. Hopefully we can just continue on. We know it's going to be tough games from here on out, but to have a win going forward, I think is big for momentum for us."
Senior point guard Jontel Evans had three points, three assists, and four rebounds in his final game at JPJ, while senior guard Doug Browman also saw time on the court.
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