CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — London Perrantes heard all the pregame talk about No. 8 Virginia’s matchup with No. 12 Villanova being a showdown of guards.
And he did what he does with most of the hype he encounters as the Cavaliers go about their business: He ignored it.
“We just wanted to win the game. We didn’t want to make a statement,” Perrantes said after scoring 15 of his 19 points in the second half as Virginia (9-1) used a 14-0 run to take command and then pulled away from the Wildcats for an 86-75 victory on Saturday.
“We have guards that can shoot the ball just as well as anybody in the country, I feel like, and we just want to go out there and prove ourselves, and I thought we did that tonight,” the junior point guard said.
He made 5 of 10 shots, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
Anthony Gill led the Cavaliers with 22 points and Malcolm Brogdon got 14 of his 20 in the second half. Brogdon also had six assists, several setting up easy inside baskets for Gill, as Virginia shot 56.5 percent (26-46), hit 8 of 12 3-point tries and 26 of 30 free throws.
“When they make it that easy, all I have to do is just finish,” Gill said after missing just once in nine shots.
Kris Jenkins scored 23 points, getting 19 in the second half, and Daniel Ochefu had 13 before fouling out late in the physical marquee matchup for Villanova (8-2). The Wildcats made 10 3-pointers and shot 49 percent, but were outrebounded 31-19.
Brogdon and Gill are typically Virginia’s top scorers, but Perrantes joining the mix made things difficult, Wildcats coach Jay Wright said.
“It was choosing your poison,” he said. “Gill is just a beast. He’s as efficient as anyone I’ve seen in a while in the post area.”
Perrantes, meanwhile, often winds up with the ball in his hands and the shot clock running down.
“Usually he hits one or two daggers a game,” Wright said. “He hit a bunch today.”
The Cavaliers trailed 43-41 and had only made one 3-pointer when Brogdon made one with 12:03 to play.
While Villanova missed its next seven shots and went scoreless for nearly five minutes, Perrantes added another 3-pointer for Virginia, and then a conventional three-point play, giving Virginia nine points in a span of 1:19. Two free throws by Brogdon and then another 3-pointer by Devon Hall finished a 14-0 burst, giving the Cavaliers their largest lead to that point at 55-43 with 9:11 left.
It also brought the crowd at John Paul Jones Arena to its feet, celebrating the play at both ends.
Jenkins scored 13 points over the next 4 1/2 minutes as the Wildcats closed within four, but Perrantes’ third 3-pointer of the half, an inside basket by Gill and Brogdon’s 3-pointer pushed the lead back to 76-66 with 1:55 to play, and the Cavaliers made their free throws.
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