The last time Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon played Georgia Tech, the Greater Atlanta Christian grad was part of the reason the fourth-ranked (both then and now) Cavaliers were upset by the Yellow Jackets at McCamish Pavilion in January.
In the teams’ ACC tournament quarterfinal matchup Thursday night, Brogdon helped restore order. Brogdon greatly pleased the multitudes of Virginia fans in attendance with the sort of play that made him the first player in ACC history to earn league player of the year and defensive player of the year honors in the same season. He scored a game-high 26 points on 10-for-15 shooting, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range, and added three rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in the Cavaliers’ 72-52 win over the Jackets at the Verizon Center.
Brogdon also took turns defending Tech guards Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith. The latter scored 16 points, but did most of the damage when Brogdon was defending Georges-Hunt.
“A bigger defender, and if I got past him, other guys were helping,” said Smith, a friend of Brogdon’s through the one year Brogdon was at Fayette County High, Smith’s alma mater.
The defeat in Atlanta helped the Cavaliers hone in on Tech, Brogdon said. In that game, Brogdon scored 19 points, but was 8-for-20 from the field and 1-for-9 from 3-point range, the most errant 3-point tries he has had in a game this season.
“They were better than us in that win earlier on,” Brogdon said. “But (Thursday), we’re a well-improved team from last time. I think we watched film carefully and made the correct adjustments needed to win this game.”
Brogdon got Virginia going in the first half, scoring eight points over three consecutive possessions on two 3-pointers and another long jumper, each time getting away from Georges-Hunt on screens. The barrage pushed Virginia from a 20-20 tie into the lead at 28-22. Tech chased down the Cavaliers to close to 30-28 at the half, but never got closer than two points again.
“I think all three of those buckets came off of a set,” Brogdon said. “On that set, there are multiple options. They have to guard multiple things. They can’t key on one player.”
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