Vir­ginia ad­vances after trail­ing by 15

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

orlando, fla.» De­fen­sive­minded Vir­ginia showed it can play with a lit­tle of­fen­sive tempo, even us­ing five guards to out­pace UNC Wilm­ing­ton.

Lon­don Per­rantes scored 24 points, Mar­ial Shayok added a ca­reer-high 23 off the bench and No. 5-seeded Vir­ginia ral­lied from 15 points down to beat 12th-seeded UNC Wilm­ing­ton 76-71 in the first round of the NCAA Tour­na­ment on Thurs­day.

Per­rantes scored 19 points in the sec­ond half as the Cava­liers (23-10) got their slow-paced of­fense go­ing. His big­gest bas­ket was a driv­ing bank shot with 1:37 re­main­ing, which put the Cava­liers up 71-66.

UNCW (29-6) wouldn’t go away, though. Chris Flem­mings drained a 3-pointer from the el­bow and then Devon­tae Ca­cok hit a layup to make it 73-71 with less than a minute to play. But Shayok an­swered on the other end, bank­ing in a run­ner that gave the Cava­liers some breath­ing room in the clos­ing sec­onds.

“I just wanted to pro­vide en­ergy off the slow start,” Shayok said. “Per­son­ally, I just didn’t want to go out like that, and I knew my team­mates didn’t ei­ther. So I just wanted to come out and pro­vide what I could on both ends and just bring a spark.”

Vir­ginia ad­vanced past the first round for the fourth con­sec­u­tive year and won as a No. 5 seed for the first time in four tries.

Per­rantes was 9-of-14 shoot­ing, and Shayok was 8-of-14. The guard duo set the pace late after Vir­ginia trailed big.

The Cava­liers closed the first half with a 16-1 run that erased a dou­ble-digit deficit.

(1) Vil­lanova 76, (16) Mount St. Mary’s 56 B

buf­falo, n.y.» Donte DiVin­cenzo scored 21 points as the top-seeded Wild­cats shook off a slow start and stum­bled for­ward to the sec­ond round.

Vil­lanova (32-3) wasn’t it­self for much of the first half be­fore it opened the sec­ond half with a 21-6 run to take con­trol.

Fresh­man Miles Wil­son scored 22 points as the Moun­taineers (2016), who de­feated New Or­leans in a First Four matchup Tues­day, gave the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons all they could han­dle for 20 min­utes.

(8) Wis­con­sin 84, Tech 74 B (9) Vir­ginia

buf­falo, n.y.» Bron­son Koenig made a school-record eight 3-point­ers and scored 28 points and Nigel Hayes added 16 as the eighth-seeded Badgers (26-9) made all the big plays in the clos­ing min­utes.

No team un­der­stands the sur­vive-and-ad­vance men­tal­ity in this tour­ney bet­ter than Wis­con­sin, the only team in the coun­try to make the Sweet 16 the last three years.

And the Badgers counted on Koenig and Hayes, two of their four se­nior starters, to get them within one win of an­other trip to the third round.

Zach Le­day scored 17 of his 23 points in the sec­ond half to pace the Hok­ies (22-11), mak­ing their first NCAA visit since 2007.

(4) Florida 80, (13) East Ten­nessee State 65 B

orlando, fla.» Devin Robin­son tied his ca­reer high with 24 points, Kasey Hill added 14 and No. 4 seed Florida (25-8) used a sec­ond-half surge to beat 13th-seeded East Ten­nessee State (27-8).

Robin­son, an NBA prospect who had been rel­a­tively quiet late in the sea­son, scored his most points in nearly two months. He made 10-of-17 shots and chipped in seven re­bounds. The speedy Hill reached dou­ble fig­ures for the fourth con­sec­u­tive game. He also added six re­bounds and five as­sists for his most com­plete game in a month.

Ke­var­rius Hayes, fill­ing in for in­jured cen­ter John Eg­bunu, fin­ished with seven points, seven re­bounds and six steals. He broke the school record for steals in an NCAA Tour­na­ment game.

Fresh­man guard Donte DiVin­cenzo, scor­ing Thurs­day in Buf­falo, N.Y., against Mount St. Mary’s, fin­ished with 21 points off the bench for de­fend­ing na­tional cham­pion Vil­lanova. Elsa, Getty Im­ages

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