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Cavs hold fifth straight opponent to 60 or less

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Virginia coach Pete Gillen knew he
wouldn't be able to dictate the pace of Wednesday night's game
against Northwestern. So he focused on defense instead.

Facing the Wildcats' patient Princeton-style offense, Gillen had
his Cavaliers play a 3-2 zone defense. It worked, barely, as Virginia (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) improved to 5-0 with a 48-44 win.

"I've been in a parking zone, a trading zone, and the ozone,
but I'm not a zone coach," Gillen said. "But you can't prepare
for the Princeton offense. They got counters for everything and
they're a nightmare to play."

Elton Brown led the Cavaliers with 15 points and 12 rebounds,
while Devin Smith added 10 points.

Brown scored the first eight points of the game for the
Cavaliers, who held their fifth straight opponent to 60 points or
less.

"Elton was great, he was our offense in the first half,"
Gillen said.

Vedran Vukusic scored 16 points to lead Northwestern (1-4),
which is off to its worst start since 1999-2000, when it opened
1-5.

"Some guys we're counting on just aren't coming through," said
Northwestern coach Bill Carmody, who came to the Wildcats from
Princeton.

Neither team played particularly well. Virginia finished with 17
turnovers and shot just 44.4 percent, but Northwestern was worse,
making 16 turnovers and shooting 37 percent.

The Wildcats looked lost at points against the zone, forcing up
last-second attempts and missing most of them. Point guard T.J.
Parker was 2-of-11, including 2-of-8 on 3-pointers.

Vukusic tied it at 37 with a 3-pointer with 8:41 left, but the
Cavaliers responded with a 7-0 run over the next 3½ minutes. Sean
Singletary hit a 3, Jason Clark had a putback and J.R. Reynolds
scored on a layup to make it 44-37.

The Wildcats equaled the run to tie it again at 44 with 2:30
remaining when Vukusic hit a 3-pointer and two free throws.

But Virginia guard J.R. Reynolds hit a pair of free throws on
the next possession and Brown hit one of two free throws with 14
seconds left. Singletary then fouled Parker before he could attempt
a 3-pointer, which worked out when Parker missed the front end of a
one-and-one.

Singletary closed it out with another free throw.

"Everybody stepped up and hit big shots," Brown said.

Virginia led 23-19 at the half. Northwestern went scoreless for
the last 6:40 of the half after taking a 19-15 lead on Parker's
3-pointer.

The Wildcats missed six shots and committed four turnovers in
that span. Brown capped Virginia's 8-0 run with a jumper in the
lane.

"We made a lot of turnovers, we made a lot of mistakes,"
Gillen said. "But we made enough plays to win."