No. 12 Virginia runs away from Miami, 65-40
London Perrantes has earned rave reviews all over the ACC for his poise as a freshman point guard for No. 12 Virginia.
His assist-to-turnovers ratio of 107-to-29 is sterling by any standard, and coach Tony Bennett has insisted time and again that Perrantes is a good 3-point shooter, too, even if his 32.7 percentage from behind the arc suggested otherwise.
Perrantes made his coach look good Wednesday night, hitting all four of his 3-point attempts and scoring a career-high 15 points as the Cavaliers beat Miami 65-40 for their 12th straight win. The last two of his 3s came during a 16-5 run to open the second half.
"I've been working on it a lot," Perrantes said of his outside shot.
He has made eight 3-pointers in his last three games.
"I have a lot of confidence with it," he said. "I know that since I have confidence, I might as well shoot it."
In doing it, he has earned another admirer.
"We were concerned about Joe Harris and Malcolm Brogdon, but when Perrantes starts making those shots, we thought 'Oh, whoa,'" Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "He played a terrific game and is a great player."
Brogdon also scored 15 points for Virginia (24-5, 15-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which won its school-record 17th straight at home in conference play. The victory assured them of one of the top two seeds in next month's conference tournament, and they can rise to the top by winning when No. 4 Syracuse arrives on Saturday.
Another outing like Perrantes' 5-for-5 shooting against the Hurricanes would help, Akil Mitchell said.
"I feel like we're as good as anybody when he's playing at a high level," Mitchell said. "When he's playing like that, we're dangerous."
Erik Swoope scored 13 points and Rion Brown had 12 for Miami (14-14, 5-10). The defending ACC regular season and tournament champions shot just 26 percent (12 of 46) and had their modest two-game winning streak snapped.
It happened, as it has so often this season for Virginia, with a big burst.
Leading 27-20 at halftime, Virginia pulled away quickly. Brogdon scored four points and Mitchell had a three-point play in the run, which was helped along by a scoreless string of nearly 4 1-2 minutes by the Hurricanes.
"I felt like we started getting a stride offensively and played fairly stingy defensively," Bennett said.
Davon Reed ended Miami's drought with a basket in the lane, moments after he had airballed a free throw, but instead of the Hurricanes making a game of it, Virginia continued to pull away, leading by as many as 27 points.
Larranaga said the biggest difference was Virginia's defense, which allows just 55.3 points per game, tops in the nation.
"They take away all your 2s and they challenge your 3s," he said.
It was Virginia's 11th ACC victory by double digits, and most of them were over early. It also came one game after they reeled off 25 consecutive points to pull away and beat Notre Dame 70-49, and just a few weeks after they broke open a close game with a game-ending 20-1 run at Georgia Tech.
Virginia used an early 10-2 run to open a 15-10 lead, and led 27-20 at halftime. Both teams shot poorly in the half, with Virginia making only 9 of 27 shots (33 percent), but five were 3-pointers. Miami was 8 for 25 in the half (32 percent) and missed all seven of its 3-point tries.