#6 UVa Basketball Beats Pitt 51-48; 'Hoos Face #7 Duke in ACC Championship
It was another hard fought, physical win, but once again the 'Hoos outlast their opponent, beating Pitt 51-48 in the ACC semifinal in Greensboro.
"We're a blue collar team, as Coach Bennett says," said UVa's Malcolm Brogdon. "It's very physical, aggressive, we pride ourselves on the defensive end. I think that's what we did tonight. It brought us to that win."
The 'Hoos held on in the end, thanks to Justin Anderson blocking a potentially game tying three pointer.
UVa head coach Tony Bennett said, "It was great. I said you unfolded. You could see it. He didn't foul. He gave enough cushion but I wasn't surprised and I liked his discipline to really make it clear that it wasn't going to be close to a foul. I was very thankful for that."
Virginia's Joe Harris led the 'Hoos with 12 points.
The Cavaliers shot 47 percent against the fifth-seeded Panthers (25-9) to earn their first trip to the ACC finals since 1994.
The Cavaliers will take on a Duke team that beat NC State 75-67 in the other semifinal game. Duke's Jabari Parker led the Blue Devils with 20 points.
Virginia and Duke played once during the regular season, with the Blue Devils winning in Durham by four points.
Virginia rallied from an 11 point deficit late in that game to take a one point lead before eventually losing when Duke's Rasheed Sulaimon bounced in the go ahead three pointer with 19 seconds left.
"It's not just a Virginia team, it's a Virginia program," said Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski. "It's based on solid play and solid character. Those kids on that team have great character. It's obvious that they don't care who scores, as long as Virginia scores."
The 'Hoos will be aiming for ACC tournament championship since 1976.
Bennett said, "Oh now we will be the second team to win it - we'll celebrate it if we do it - but the way we're going to do it is just by locking in and being sound in the little areas, cleaning up some of the breakdowns in this game and hopefully we have that opportunity."
UVa's Joe Harris said, "I think we'll be excited, ready to go and a lot of adrenaline and all that going, going through your body tomorrow. Regardless of the fatigue whatever it might be - everybody is going to be feeling that...At this point it's just going to be a matter of wills. Who can be more mentally tough going into the game and throughout the game."
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Marty Hudtloff is the Sports Director at WVIR-TV. He joined the NBC29 sports team in October of 2003. He has a degree in broadcast journalism from Bradley University. You can reach out to Marty via Email or Twitter.