Cavalier Corner

April 2016

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Page 27 of 53

erupting in the second half. Virginia shot a staggering 73 percent and Brogdon shut down Butler's Andrew Chrabascz, who at one point had scored 12 straight points. UVA's bench, led by Tobey and Marial Shayok, outscored Butler's 22-7. The Cavs were on to Chicago, where their Sweet 16 game against Iowa State at United Center was essentially a road game. But Virginia, on the strength of one of its best of- fensive performances of the season — UVA shot 56 percent and had a season-high 26 assists — silenced Cyclones fans with an 84-71 win. "It was like a home game for them," Brogdon said, "but that's something that fires us up as competitors. We embraced it. It was a challenge, and we were able to overcome it." The win moved Virginia into its first Elite Eight since 1995 when assistant coach Jason Williford was a player on the team. UVA seemed destined for its first Final Four since 1984. The Cavaliers led Syracuse by 16 points in the second half before falling victim to the Orange's full-court press and losing 68-62. "Weeping may endure the night, but joy comes in the morning," Bennett said. "We will have some tough nights because you're so close you could taste it, but absolute joy will come in the morning for what these guys have established for Virginia basketball. My gosh, where it was when they got here? "All the guys that have helped get it to that, there will be joy, and I'm just so thank- ful to have coached them. I know every coach says that at this time, but it is not lip service. It's real." ◆ Each season, London Perrantes has taken on more offensive responsibility. As a first-year, he averaged 5.5 points. As a second-year, he averaged 6.4. This past season, Perrantes scored at a clip of 11.0 points per game. Expect another increase next season. With the graduations of guard Malcolm Brogdon, forward Anthony Gill, center Mike To- bey and guard Evan Nolte, Virginia will be looking for even more scoring punch out of Perrantes. UVA, in a sense, figures to revolve around the fourth-year point guard. But that's not to say it will be a one-man show. Not by any stretch. Virginia, which returns seven of its 11 scholar- ship players from this past season — including key rotation pieces in redshirt third-year guard Devon Hall, third-year forward Isaiah Wilkins and third-year guard Marial Shayok — figures to again be in the hunt for an ACC championship. The biggest addition to UVA's 2016-17 team figures to be Austin Nichols. The 6-9 forward, who sat out last season after transferring from Memphis, should slide right into Gill's spot in the starting lineup. As a second- year at Memphis, Nichols led the Tigers in scoring (13.3), was second in rebounding (6.1) and first in blocks (3.4). Virginia head coach Tony Bennett will probably be most excited about Nichols' shot blocking. At several junctures this past season, Bennett lamented his team's lack of a rim protector such as former UVA players Darion Atkins and Akil Mitchell. LONDON PERRANTES WILL LEAD THE WAY NEXT YEAR

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