WASHINGTON - Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon's second night at the ACC tournament went a little bit like the first for the Greater Atlanta Christian grad – do a little bit of everything, play tough defense and deliver when the Cavaliers need the points.
Against Georgia Tech in the Thursday night quarterfinals, it was eight points in a three-possession burst in the first half that gave the Cavaliers a lead they would never give up. Friday night in the semifinals, he went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute to fend off a Miami comeback attempt and secure Virginia’s place in the Saturday night finals with a 73-68 win at the Verizon Center.
“It’s all mental,” Brogdon said of the free throws. “It’s all mental. It’s nothing but your mental. You just have to step up to the line and be confident in yourself and knock ’em down.”
No. 2 seed Virginia will play No. 1 seed North Carolina in an intriguing matchup of contrasting tempos and offensive firepower vs. smart and unyielding defense. Virginia will attempt to win its third ACC title in school history and second in the past three years after winning one in the previous 60.
Brogdon is far from the only reason for the run of success, but he has had a considerable hand in it. Following the end of the regular season, he became the first player to be named the ACC player of the year and defensive player of the year in the same season. Friday, he gave the Cavaliers a game-high 24 points, four assists (against one turnover) and three rebounds. He was 10-for-11 from the line.
Miami had cut a 13-point lead with 2:05 left to six with 50 seconds left. Through the end of the game, Brogdon was 6-for-6 while two teammates were 0-for-4. His final two free throws, with two seconds left, pushed the lead back to an insurmountable five points.
His career free-throw percentage is now 87.0 percent, fifth all-time in ACC history.
“Malcolm Brogdon is just a sensational college player,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.
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