CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Virginia's Mike Scott watched in street clothes last season as Miami twice rallied late in games to beat the Cavaliers, including a stunning comeback from 10 points down in 40 seconds in the ACC tournament.
The Hurricanes almost did it again to the No. 21 Cavaliers on Saturday night, but Scott scored 23 points and fellow senior Sammy Zeglinski made two big plays to allow Virginia to hang on, 52-51.
Zeglinski hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:42 to play, then made a huge defensive play in the final seconds, keeping Durand Scott from getting off a shot from in close as the buzzer sounded.
The victory was the 12th in a row for the Cavaliers (14-1, 1-0) as they continued their best start to a season since the 1981-82 team won 27 of its first 28 games with Ralph Sampson at center.
"Probably grabbing the ball," Zeglinski said when asked which play was bigger. "I was so wide open on the 3 — it was an easy shot. Defensively, Jontel (Evans) did a great job of forcing a contested shot and then I just tried to snatch the ball and not let him get a second shot up."
Scott said it was no surprise to see Zeglinski perform when it mattered most.
"That's like a week in, week out thing. He's always coming up clutch for us," Scott said.
Scott finished 9-for-20 from the field, his last basket a driving score with 50 seconds left for Virginia's final points, and said he reminded his team throughout about the losses last season.
"That was the message I gave my team before the game, during the game, when they were making their run," he said. "Don't let this happen again."
In the final sequence, Miami's Durand Scott drove in from the left wing defended by Evans and missed a layup, but the ball came right back to him. Scott said he would have shot it or passed to Malcolm Grant, but Zeglinski grabbed the ball, tying him up and allowing the buzzer to sound.
"What I wanted wasn't open, so I just tried to go for the best opening knowing that time was running down," said Scott, who scored 12 points, all in the second half. "I just didn't make the shot."
Kenny Kadji led Miami (9-5, 0-1) with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Zeglinski's wide open 3-pointer with 3:42 to play was his only basket of the half, and gave the Cavaliers a 48-46 lead. After a Miami miss, Evans' floater doubled Virginia's lead to 50-46, but Durand Scott's two free throws for Miami made it 50-48 with 2:34 left.
Mike Scott's driving basket made it 52-48, but Evans was caught holding Durand Scott's wrist on his driving basket, and Scott's bonus free throw again made it a 1-point advantage with 33.4 seconds to go.
Joe Harris had a chance to pad it for Virginia with 18.2 seconds to go, but he badly missed the front end of a one-and-one, Miami rebounded and called timeout with 13.1 seconds left.
The second half was close throughout.
Malcolm Brogdon gave Virginia 40-36 lead with a 3-pointer, but Kadji hit a pair of free throws and Durand Scott scored on another drive, this with the left hand, to tie it at 40-all.
After Harris hit a 3 for Virginia, his first field goal of the game, and Rion Brown answered with one for Miami, also his first field goal, Scott's baby hook gave Virginia a 45-53 lead.
Kadji made a free throw for Miami with 4:42 left, and the Hurricanes retained possession when he missed the second and the ball went out of bounds off Assane Sene. Miami didn't score, but Kadji did moments later with a dunk over Harris, giving Miami its first lead since early.
That set up the dramatic finish.
Virginia led 26-17 at halftime, and got the lead to 33-23 on Jontel Evans' foul-line jumper with 16:02 to play before the Hurricanes started to rally. Kadji started it with a 3-pointer from the top off the key, and Reggie Johnson scored on a putback for the third time in the half.
After Mike Scott hit a pair of free throws, Malcolm Grant made a 3-pointer and Durand Scott scored on an acrobatic drive, was fouled and made the shot, pulling Miami to within 35-34 with 12:11 left.
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