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Tri-State Natives Play Their Part in Virginia/Pittsburgh Basketball Game

Charlottesville, Virginia – The University of Virginia’s vaunted pack-line defense was on full display the other night when the Pitt Panthers squared off with No. 2 ranked Virginia in an ACC matchup in Charlottesville, VA.

A number of players, with tri-state roots on both squads, figured prominently in the final outcome – some good and some not so good.

ACC Player of the Candidate Malcolm Brogdon led the way with 18 points as Virginia won over a resurgent Pitt team, 61-49.

Pitt, coming off a decisive 89-76 over North Carolina where they shot a season high 64.9%, posed a potential trap game for coach Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers.

However, the hosts proved anything but generous to the visiting Panthers as Bennett’s pack-line defense limited the Panthers to just 15 points in the first half (6 of 17 shooting) while opening a commanding 25-15 lead at the intermission.

The UVA defense is ranked first in the country, allowing a miniscule 50.8 points per game. Last year the Hoos also led the country in defense but at 55.7 points per game clip.

Most notably affected in the game was Pitt’s leading scorer Michael Young (St Benedict’s Prep, NJ) who was held scoreless while being limited to just 11 minutes of playing time. Young entered the contest averaging 13.3 points per game, but was only able to take three shots and grab one board before fouling out in the second half.

“Young is an excellent offensive talent and we were focused on not allowing him to score,” said Virginia’s Bennett to reporter’s after the game.

Many may remember that Young led St Benedict’s Prep to a National High School Invitational runner-up finish with a 32-2 overall record and a No. 2 national ranking.

Young’s teammate and fellow St Benedict’s Prep alum, Jamel Artis, fared a bit better against the UVA defense as he led the Pitt (17-10, 6-7 ACC) attack with 20 points (6 for 11 shooting), 15 coming in the second half.

Chris Jones (Teaneck, NJ/Teaneck HS) also saw considerable playing time for Pitt and scored seven points in 30 minutes of action.

Derrick Randall (Brooklyn, NY/South Kent Prep (Rutgers) scored seven points and grabbed three boards in limited action.

On the Virginia (24-1, 12-1 ACC) side, freshman Marial Shayok, came off the bench to give the Cavaliers a huge lift in the second half. Shayok, who prepped at Blair Academy in New Jersey, scored six points and grabbed four boards in 21 minutes of action.

Center Mike Tobey (Malone, NY), who also prepped at Blair Academy, had an impressive first half of action scoring 4 quick points before being limited to just 13 minutes of playing due to foul trouble.

POST GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Virginia’s Brogdon scored his 1000 career point late in the second half. Brogdon’s milestone is all the amazing given UVA’s committment to defense and their committment to sharing the basketball on the offensive end.

Young has scored in double figures in 16 out of his last 18 games but was frustrated by the Hoos defensive intensity and constant double teams.

Artis has elevated his game of late, scoring at a 19.3 ppg clip in his last nine contests. Counting his 20 point effort against the Cavaliers, Artis has now registered six 20-point plus games for the Panthers.

The Virginia fan support is extraordinary and very much aware of the Hoos defensive focus. The capacity crowd roars on every defensive possession and it becomes deafening as the shot clock winds down to the ten second mark. No question that the crowd serves as a sixth man. The environment at the John Paul Jones Arena has few peers these days across the college basketball landscape. Sorry Allen Field House, Cameron Indoor Arena, Carrier Dome, etc, etc.

I would very much look forward to a Kentucky/Virginia Final Four matchup.

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Bob Whitney

Bob Whitney

Bob is a college basketball columnist here at DoubleGSports.com. He also covers Yale football and the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
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