CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Braxton Key and Kihei Clark scored 17 points each and Virginia gradually pulled away for its third consecutive victory, 78-65 against Boston College on Wednesday night.
The Cavaliers already led 45-39 when two free throws by Key sparked a 25-11 run. Key had 11 points in the spurt that gave Virginia (18-7, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) a 70-50 lead with 5:21 to play. The victory solidified the Cavaliers’ grasp on fourth place in the ACC with three weeks left in the regular season.
Nik Popovic led to Eagles (13-14, 7-9) with 22 points and Jay Heath had 18. After limiting Virginia to 32.7% shooting in their first meeting, a 60-53 BC victory on Jan. 7., the Eagles saw Virginia shoot 57.8% (26-45) and hit 10 3-pointers.
Tomas Woldetensae and Jay Huff each added 14 points for the Cavaliers, whose point total was their season-high. Huff also grabbed eight rebounds.
Huff’s third 3-pointer to end the first half gave the Cavaliers a 35-23 lead. BC closed to within six before Key sparked the long run to seal the outcome.
The Eagles played without scoring leader Derryck Thornton (13.1 ppg), who experienced back spasms in warmups. He missed both games against Virginia.
Boston College: Popovic was having a nice night — 10 points, five rebounds — until he was whistled for three fouls in the first 4:48 of the second half and went to the bench. With Virginia’s lead growing, BC coach Jim Christian gambled and put the 6-foot-11 senior back in. He kept scoring, but so did the Cavaliers.
Virginia: After a poor start to the season, Woldentensae has emerged as the offensive wild card the Cavaliers have been seeking. In three of his previous six games, he’d made six or more 3-pointers and was 24 for 52 (46.1%) overall from deep. He was four for eight against the Eagles.
The Eagles return home to face Clemson on Saturday night.
The Cavaliers go on the road and play a noon game at Pittsburgh on Saturday.