No. 4 U.Va. loses second straight, falling 68-64 at Ga. Tech

The Associated Press

ATLANTA— Malcolm Brogdon hopes Virginia accepts coach Tony Bennett's challenge to his players.

"We've got to find five guys who want to come out and play hard every night," Brogdon said, "regardless if we're at home or on a visiting court."

Brogdon scored 19 points and London Perrantes added 13, but their efforts weren't enough to keep No. 4 Virginia from losing 68-64 to Georgia Tech on Saturday.

The loss was a rare second in a row for Virginia (12-3, 1-2), matching its league loss total of each of the last two years when it won consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season titles.

"Just the play on the glass, the struggling — it's a fine line," Bennett said. "Maybe the players will believe me and maybe when I say it, some who don't believe me will, but it is a fine line between successful and being not successful."

Quinton Stephens, Adam Smith and Nick Jacobs each scored 16 points and Georgia Tech won its biggest ACC game under fifth-year coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets (11-5, 1-2) got four 3-pointers apiece from Stephens and Smith.

Virginia has dropped two straight in the ACC for the first time since it lost at Boston College and Florida State in March 2013. The Cavaliers' loss at Virginia Tech on Monday snapped a seven-game winning streak in that series.

"We just couldn't get the stops on the defensive end," Brogdon said. "Stephens hit a couple of big 3s down the stretch."

Gregory, whose job was in danger when last season ended, began the game just 19-53 in league play, but he watched his team take a 15-point lead late in the first half before Marial Shayok's 3 forced a 49-all tie with 6:09 remaining.

The Jackets stayed calm, though, going on an 11-0 run to put the game out of reach on two 3s by Stephens and one by Smith.

"We expected to win, but we're not going to downplay it," Stephens said. "This was a huge win for us."

Georgia Tech ended a seven-game skid in league play, while Virginia never led after Stephens' 3 made it 7-6.

Bennett isn't sure what kind of approach he will take with his team early next week, but he definitely plans to address the dropoff.

"I don't know," he said. "We're in for a fight. We've got to improve."

TIP-INS

Virginia: The Cavaliers had won three straight and eight of nine against Georgia Tech. … Virginia began the game shooting 57.6 percent in the second half this season, but they missed 18 times from the field to finish the second 20 minutes at 41.4.

Bennett started 7-foot, 260-pound C Mike Tobey instead of Isaiah Wilkins to get an edge on the boards. Tobey finished with seven points and seven rebounds. … Wilkins, at 6-7, 230, had a big putback to cut the lead to 49-46. … Shayok started instead of Darius Thompson and had six points.

Georgia Tech: G Marcus Georges-Hunt, the team's leading scorer this season, finished with five points on 1 for 6 shooting. … Stephens made his first start of the season as Josh Heath came off the bench. Gregory also started F James White for just the third start of the season with Jacobs working as a reserve. White had a game-high nine rebounds.

The Jackets have outrebounded 13 opponents. … Charles Mitchell, the ACC's leading rebounder, had an offensive board and a putback to make it 45-36, but he finished with just six points and six boards.

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