No. 2 Virginia (18-0, 6-0) remained unblemished on the season with a dominant 58-27 win over ACC rival Georgia Tech (9-9, 0-6) on Thursday. Virginia limited the Yellow Jackets to just 16 points in the first half, 12 in the second and forced them to shoot 0-of-12 from three-point range.
“We try to pride ourselves on the defensive end,” Cavaliers guard Justin Anderson said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I think we did a great job locking in today and making sure we packed it in and closed out on those guys. I think we did a great job doing that.”
The Cavaliers got contributions from just about everyone, as only one player – Malcolm Brogdon (13 points) – finished with more than seven points.
“He’s been tremendous for us,” Anderson said of Brogdon. “His work ethic is insane. He’s doing a great job of leading our team this year vocally and showing the way. He’s deserving of everything he’s getting. With his work ethic, it’s no coincidence what he’s doing out there on the floor.”
Anderson had seven points, four assists, three rebounds, a steal and a block, while Darion Atkins and Anthony Gill combined for 14 rebounds.
“It was great for us,” Anderson said. “Those guys are hungry, and they want to get a piece of the glass every chance they get. I think they do a great job offensively and defensively just going to the rim, attacking the glass and trying to get a hand on (the ball). I think that’s really helping our team limiting teams to one shot. Those guys are huge pieces to what we’re doing.”
Virginia shot 5-of-9 from three-point range, with five players each making one, including Anderson. The Cavaliers haven’t been flashy on offense this year, but they have been efficient. If someone has a good look, he’ll take it; if not, he’ll keep moving the rock.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” Anderson said. “That’s the good thing about our team. We’re happy for one another in every situation. We want to make sure we get the best shot for the team because we trust the next person to take the shot. I think it’s beautiful basketball we’re playing. We’re just going to try to stay humble and keep it up.”
The Cavaliers had two stiff tests this month but passed both. They beat Miami on the road in double overtime on Jan. 3, and won, 62-56, at then-No. 13, now-No. 8 Notre Dame on Jan. 10.
“I think we did a great job of not panicking and just trusting in one another, trusting in our system and our coaching staff,” Anderson said of the wins. “I’m just glad that we learned something from (both of those games) without losing.”
Virginia pays at Virginia Tech (8-10, 0-5) this Sunday before three extremely tough match-ups: against No. 5 Duke (16-2, 4-2) on Jan. 31, at No. 15 North Carolina (15-4, 5-1) on Feb. 2, and against No. 10 Louisville (15-3, 3-2) on Feb. 7.
That’s an unbelievable stretch – and Anderson refused to look ahead.
“We just want to make sure we take of business on the road in Blacksburg,” he said. “I think we have to worry about the task at hand before we get too far ahead of ourselves down the road.”