The Virginia Cavaliers survived a scare from Andrew Chrabascz and the ninth-seeded Butler Bulldogs, coming back from a halftime deficit with a second-half offensive explosion to win 77-69.
|Getting to the line (FT Rate)||40.4||31.5|
Here are three takeaways:
1) Malcolm Brogdon's defense stopped a ridiculous night from Butler's Andrew Chrabascz.
Chrabascz, a junior, scored a season-high 25 points and single-handedly carried the Bulldogs in the first half and picked up right where he left off after halftime.
Four minutes into the second half, he had 24 points on 9-10 shooting, including perfect 4-4 shooting from behind the arc. Isaiah Wilkins couldn't stop Chrabascz, nor could Mike Tobey or Evan Nolte. Virginia was doing a good job keeping his teammates bottled up - the rest of Butler was 5-19 from the field, combining for 13 points - but the Hoos still trailed by as many as 5 points. (In fact, UVA started the second half by scoring on its first 6 possessions...but failed to cut into the lead at all). Then, this happened:
TB said Brogdon asked to be put on Chrabascz in the second half - looked at Bennett across the court, pointed to himself, that was it. #UVA— Ava Wallace (@AvaRWallace) March 20, 2016
Chrabascz didn't make another field goal, scoring one point over the final 16 minutes. Brogdon gave up some height to the 6-8" junior, but was able to successfully keep him off the three-point line and had the help of double-teams in the post. It doesn't matter the opponent nor the position. From Cat Barber to Brandon Ingram, Malcolm Brogdon shuts down his man.
2) It was a tale of two halves. Virginia's offense sputtered in the first, and exploded in the second.
At halftime, Virginia had 25 points in 28 possessions against the nation's 119th ranked defense. Some of it was tough luck - Brogdon had a couple threes rattle in and out and a rare miss of a layup as well. But mainly, the Hoos were slow to adjust to Butler's efforts to deny UVA in the post. Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey combined for six first-half points on six shot attempts.
In 36 second-half possessions, UVA scored 54 points (!), a 1.5 PPP clip. Unlike in the first-round win against Hampton, the team's three-point shots weren't falling. But against an undersized and outmanned Butler team, that wasn't necessary. UVA got the ball inside using lob passes and by using their guards to penetrate and open up better angles for Gill, who finished with 19 points on 7-9 shooting, and Tobey, who used his 9 minutes of play to score 10 on 5 shots. Some of the looks were easy ones but not all were. In fact, according to ESPN, UVA made 17 of 23 contested looks in the second half, the best percentage so far in the NCAA Tournament. That's a bit misleading, because Butler didn't contest the shots too well...but they sure contested this one:
The fact that UVA never led by double-digits is a testament to Butler's gritty offensive effort. Similar to the Hoos' night, Butler struggled to score in the first half, then managed to hang with a torrid-shooting UVA team in the second. It was a weird night, but Virginia simply outgunned Butler inside.
3) Marial Shayok provided a spark.
Virginia is a better team when someone other than Brogdon and Gill emerges as an offensive threat. Gill had a big second half, and Brogdon had a typical Malcolm night (22 points, making 8-11 twos though he missed all three three-point attempts he tried, and 5 assists). But it was Marial Shayok that provided the initial lift.
On three consecutive possessions, with UVA trailing by five points, Shayok showed off his versatility during a dangerous point in the game. He drilled a step back jumper, made a contested three to tie the game, then got to the rim and was fouled, making one of two free-throws. Minutes later, he made another jumper and was fouled in the process - that gave UVA its then-biggest lead of the night (4 points), and (thankfully) a lasting one.