March 09, 2017
NEW YORK (AP) Bonzie Colson had 21 points and 10 rebounds and No. 22 Notre Dame beat No. 21 Virginia for the first time since joining the ACC, topping the Cavaliers 71-58 on Thursday night to reach the tournament semifinals.
''It's nice to get the first one when the stakes are really high,'' Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. ''(The players) know everything we've accomplished in four years, that's the one thing we didn't have an answer for. They wanted to beat this program. This program has kind of had our number.''
The third-seeded Fighting Irish (24-8) will face second-seeded and No. 16 Florida State on Friday in the late semifinal at Barclays Center.
The Fighting Irish were 0-5 against the Cavaliers (22-10) since entering the ACC, never breaking 66 points in the process. For once, Notre Dame's offense ran smoothly against Virginia's active defense and the Irish even managed to push the pace some against the methodical Cavaliers.
Notre Dame started both halves strong and used an 11-0 run, highlighted by a steal and reverse slam by Rex Pflueger, to build a 17-point lead five minutes into the second half.
The Cavaliers never made a serious push back.
''We were behind in the play,'' Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. ''They really were moving the ball well. They're hard to guard. They played well, and we didn't have one of our better games.''
Colson had his ACC-best 19th double-double for the Irish. They have won seven of eight.
Virginia: London Perrantes went 1 for 9 from the field.
''Obviously, Notre Dame played some good defense tonight. But, yeah, missed some chippies, some layups. I had a couple of open 3s that I missed,'' Perrantes said.
The Cavaliers will go as far as their defense takes them in the NCAA Tournament.
''It's not going to change for us,'' Bennett said. ''It's just doing it a little bit better and taking care of the ball.''
Virginia: The Cavaliers will be making their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, probably as about a fifth or sixth seed.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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