The Virginia Cavaliers defeated the Hampton Pirates in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, setting up a matchup with Butler on Saturday.
What happened: Hampton stuck with the top-seeded Cavaliers for the first 14 minutes and trailed by just two at 20-18 before a pair of three-pointers from Malcolm Brogdon, the ACC player of the year, and London Perrantes helped spark a 20-3 run to close the half. The Pirates didn't get any closer than that the rest of the way as Virginia rolled to an 81-45 win in Raleigh. Forward Anthony Gill scored a game-high 19 points while Perrantes added 12 and Brogdon had 11 for the Cavaliers. The most anxious moment for UVa. may have come toward the end of the first half, when head coach Tony Bennett fell to the sideline after appearing to hurt his leg or his knee. He went to the locker room but returned for the second half.
Why it maters: Bouncing back from their ACC championship game loss to North Carolina on Sunday, the Cavaliers had to play their game, and they did. Virginia shot 55.2% from the floor overall and 48.0% from beyond the arc while their stifling defense (ranking No. 4 nationally in adjusted efficiency, according to kenpom.com) held Hampton to just 30.4% and 15.8%, respectively.
What’s next: On Saturday, the Cavaliers will face No. 9 seed Butler, which earlier on Thursday defeated Texas Tech 71-61. The Bulldogs are a much tougher test for Virginia's defense, as senior Kellen Dunham went 5-9 from beyond the arc against the Red Raiders.