Yes Virginia, the long wait is over -- the Cavaliers are once again kings of the ACC.
Malcolm Brogdon scored eight of his 19 points during a decisive second-half run and No. 12 Virginia clinched the top seed in the ACC tournament by beating No. 4 Syracuse 75-56 on Saturday at a sold-out John Paul Jones Arena. The win gave Virginia their first outright ACC regular season title since 1981 and extended a program-best conference win streak to 13.
Senior Akil Mitchell had 12 points and nine rebounds on senior day and Mike Tobey and Justin Anderson scored 11 each for the Cavaliers, who improved to 25-5 and 16-1 in the ACC.
Virginia had first-half runs on 9-0 and 8-2 in building a 22-15 lead, but Gerry Cooney, who had missed 22 of his last 27 3-point shots, hit a jumper and Richmond native Michael Gbinije then connected back-to-back from beyond the arc for Syracuse, who took a 28-27 lead to the half.
Brogdon broke a 42-all tie with two free throws, and then hit a jumper from the foul line. After a turnover by the Orange, London Perrantes hit a deep 3-pointer that gave the Cavaliers a 49-42 lead.
Anderson added a 3-pointer from the right side, Brogdon followed an Orange miss with a jumper and then followed another miss with a jumper. The lead was 56-45 with 5:15 remaining and fans sensed that the Cavaliers were in the process of putting the game away.
Joe Harris hit a free throw, and then followed a Syracuse miss with a 3-pointer, his first basket in nine tries. The senior was then removed from the game during a timeout by Tony Bennett, and was met with a loud ovation from the JPJ crowd.
Virginia will finish the regular season with a trip to Maryland next Sunday.