CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — By the time Sammy Zeglinski made his first 3-pointer in two games, giving No. 19 Virginia a 57-46 lead over Boston College on Thursday night, the Cavaliers seemed to have the game against the Eagles in hand.
Still, it was the return of Zeglinski and the long ball that drew the biggest roars from the crowd during the game, and perhaps brought out the biggest smiles from the players after the 66-49 victory.
"It felt good," Zeglinski said of hopefully coming out of a slump that had seen him go 2 for 17 from behind the arc in the previous three games. "It felt good to have that one go down and hopefully I can just get some momentum from that going forward and just keep my confidence up."
The Cavaliers will need it since they won't have center Assane Sene for about six weeks after foot surgery, and a working outside game prevents teams from focusing as much on Mike Scott.
Zeglinski hit 3-pointers 55 seconds apart in a 20-3 run late in the game and Scott scored 18 points as the Cavaliers beat the Eagles for only the second time in seven tries.
Virginia (16-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) matched it victory total of last season and rebounded from a home loss to Virginia Tech on Sunday night in which they managed just 45 points.
"Coming off the Virginia Tech game, I told our guys this is when you've got to step up," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said, looking at a box score that showed several players made large contributions.
Akil Mitchell, who replaced Sene in the lineup but was a non-factor against the Hokies, scored a career-best 10 points and added five rebounds and two assists. Point guard Jontel Evans continued to heed Bennett's advice to play aggressively at both ends and had 10 points, six assists and three steals. Zeglinski had four steals by halftime, and guard Malcolm Brogdon got seven rebounds.
He, too, wanted to talk about Zeglinski, whose open looks from behind the arc always cause a stir in the crowd, which has seen that when he makes one, he can often produce offense in a hurry.
"The crowd loved it," Brogdon said with a wide grin. "We're just glad he's out of his slump."
Ryan Anderson had 12 points for Boston College (7-13, 2-4), which rallied from a 44-36 deficit to pull even on a 3-pointer by Danny Rubin with 10:25 to play. The Eagles hit seven 3-pointers in the game, but managed just one other field goal over the next 10 minutes as the Cavaliers pulled away.
"A couple of times, I thought they really played well in stretches and we answered. I was real proud of our guards," second-year coach Steve Donahue said of the Eagles, who have nine freshmen, four of them starters. "Unfortunately in a lot of games this year, we run out of gas.
"I didn't feel like it was a 17-point game, but that's what happens when you run out of gas."
The Eagles stayed in it as long as they did with 3-point shooting.
Virginia scored on five straight possessions early in the second half, and the Eagles scored on only three, but all three baskets were 3-pointers — by Gabe Moton, Lonnie Jackson and Matt Humphrey. When Virginia came up empty on a few consecutive trips, an inside basket by Jordan Daniels and a wide-open 3 by Rubin from the left corner tied it at 44.
That's when it all disintegrated for the Eagles.
A driving basket by Evans and another by Brogdon gave Virginia a 48-44 lead. The Cavaliers failed to get anything out of consecutive turnovers by the Eagles, but BC then bailed out Virginia by fouling Mitchell on a fast-break layup. He made both free throws.
A baseline jumper by Darion Atkins, another driving bank by Evans and Zeglinski's consecutive 3-pointers made it 60-46. Two free throws by Scott capped the burst for the Cavaliers.
Virginia trailed 15-14 until Mitchell scored inside with 8:40 left, sparking a 17-8 run to end the half. Scott had eight points in the run, and Joe Harris capped it with a 3-pointer, the Cavaliers' first since early in the first half in their previous game.
Virginia, which went 1 for 14 from behind the arc against Virginia Tech, had missed 16 consecutive 3s before Harris' shot.
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