CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas —
Anthony Gill made several big buckets late in the second half and finished with 19 points to lead Virginia over SMU 76-73 in the semifinals of the Corpus Christi Challenge Friday evening.
Virginia (6-1) will face the winner of Missouri State and Texas A&M in the final on Saturday, while SMU will face the loser.
Gill scored 12 points down the stretch to lead the Cavaliers to a 7-point lead with 5:05 remaining.
SMU responded though on several baskets inside the paint, the last a Yanick Moreira lay-in on a nice feed from Markus Kennedy. Moreira was fouled by Joe Harris on the play, and the made free throw drew the lead to 74-73.
Keith Frazier stole the ball from Virginia as they tried to kill the clock, but Moreira was called for travelling with 2.0 seconds remaining. On the following in-bounds play, Harris was fouled and made both ensuing free throws to seal the victory.
Both teams shot over 45 percent from the floor, and Virginia was an impressive 71.4 percent (10 of 14) from beyond the arc. Evan Nolte was 3 of 4 from the 3-point area and finished with 12 points for the Cavs.
Kennedy finished with 14 points and Nic Moore added 17 for the Mustangs.
It was the first meeting between the two teams.
The teams played to a halftime tie at 30, with neither team taking more than a six point lead in the frame. Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Cavaliers an early 10-4 lead, but SMU tied it up two minutes later, and the squads traded baskets until intermission with neither taking a significant advantage.
The second half played out much like the first. Both teams got into foul trouble early in the half, each in the double-bonus before the 10-minute mark. Virginia found a spark, going on a 7-0 run including a 3-point jumper by Perrantes, and a jumper and two free throws by Gill.
Gill’s uncontested 6-footer to give Virginia a 7-point lead with 5:05 remaining.
That’s when SMU toughened in the paint, getting buckets by Cannen Cunningham and Kennedy, before Moreira brought the lead down to one with a dunk, layup and free throw.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett called a timeout with 1:11 left to settle his troops. On the next possession, Akil Mitchell took the ball at the top of the key and slashed his way to the basket for a reverse layup to give Virginia a 3-point lead again.
But SMU came back with a layup by Kennedy. Keith Frazier was able to flick the ball away from Virginia’s Brogdon and get the ball back into the frontcourt, where and SMU called time with 4.8 seconds left.
The in-bound play went to center Moreira, and after several spins, the big man was called for traveling with 2.0 seconds left.
Virginia in-bounded to Joe Harris, who was immediately fouled by Nic Moore. Harris, who finished with 15 points, hit both free throws to give the Cavs a 3-point lead with 1.7 seconds remaining. Moreira fumbled the long in-bounds pass and Virginia recovered to seal the victory.
Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Moreira 4-6 3-3 11, Manuel 1-3 3-3 5, N. Moore 6-12 2-3 17, Russell 3-12 3-4 9, Brown 1-2 0-0 3, Frazier 2-3 2-2 7, Kennedy 5-7 4-7 14, Head 0-0 0-0 0, Cunningham 2-2 1-2 5, B. Moore 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 24-49 20-26 73.
Tobey 0-3 3-4 3, Mitchell 2-5 2-4 6, Harris 4-6 4-7 15, Brogdon 1-7 4-4 7, Perrantes 3-3 0-0 9, Anderson 1-4 2-2 4, T. Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Nolte 3-4 3-4 12, Gill 6-10 7-9 19, Atkins 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 20-44 26-36 76.
Halftime—Tied 30-30. 3-Point Goals—SMU 5-14 (N. Moore 3-6, Frazier 1-2, Brown 1-2, Williams 0-1, Manuel 0-1, Russell 0-2), Virginia 10-14 (Harris 3-3, Nolte 3-3, Perrantes 3-3, Brogdon 1-4, Anderson 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—SMU 33 (Kennedy, Moreira 5), Virginia 29 (Mitchell 9). Assists—SMU 13 (Kennedy 5), Virginia 11 (Brogdon, Perrantes 3). Total Fouls—SMU 27, Virginia 24. A—NA.