CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Assane Sene tipped in a missed free throw with 4.8 seconds to play Monday night and Virginia overcame a brutal performance to beat Norfolk State 50-49.
The Cavaliers (8-3) won their fifth straight, and second in a row with injured scoring and rebounding leader Mike Scott, but badly missed him against the upset-minded Spartans.Norfolk State (1-8) lost its seventh straight but barely. The tip-in by Sene was just his sixth field goal of the season, and came in a game in which the Cavaliers were outrebounded 43-36. Sene had 12 to lead all rebounders.Mustapha Farrakhan led Virginia with 18 points; Rob Hampton had 17 for the Spartans.The Spartans used a 12-3 run to take a 38-33 lead in the second half, and the Cavaliers scrambled the rest of the way to beat a team they were expected to handle without trouble.Chris McEachin hit consecutive 3-pointers and had seven points in the burst.Virginia pulled even at 45 on KT Harrell's 10-footer with 5:31 left, and neither team scored again until Rodney McCauley's driving basket for Norfolk State with 1:47 to play. McCauley was fouled and missed the shot, and Farrakhan's 3-pointer from the top of the key put Virginia ahead 48-47 with 1:29 left before the teams again went cold.Hampton was fouled with 23.8 seconds left, and made both shots to give the lead back to the Spartans. Sammy Zeglinski's ensuing 3-point shot for Virginia rimmed out, but Harrell got the rebound and was fouled. He missed both, but the 7-foot Sene tipped in the game-winner.Virginia took a 41-40 lead on a 3-pointer by Zeglinski and Will Regan's basket inside, but the Cavaliers turned it over on their next three possessions. Norfolk State scored five straight to go ahead 45-41, before the Cavaliers rallied and pulled even.The first half was brutal for both sides.Virginia led 17-10 after 12 minutes, then went nine consecutive possessions without scoring. The Spartans weren't much better, but scored six straight points.After Billy Baron hit a 3-pointer for Virginia, two free throws by Hampton and a basket inside by Kyle O'Quinn tied it at 20. Farrakhan's late floater put the Cavaliers up 22-20.The Spartans shot 25 percent (7 for 28) in the half, and Virginia was at 29.6 percent (8 for 27).