Virginia ended the second half the same way it began it -- with a slam dunk -- and the Cavaliers scored enough points in between to hold off Virginia Tech tonight, 67-59.
Jim Miller's dunk with 10 seconds left finished an eight-point Virginia run in the game's final 1:46. Before a crowd of 9,149 in the Scope, the Cavaliers beat a Tech team that had been nationally ranked until this week.
Shooting 67.6 percent from the floor, Virginia (7-4) defeated the Hokies for the 10th time in 11 games. Tech (8-3), which lost its second straight, ended a nine-game losing streak to Virginia with a 56-54 win in Richmond last season.
"We obviously got some scoring inside, and that was an important factor for us," said Virginia Coach Terry Holland. "But I thought the defense was really the key consistently."
The Hokies had been averaging 53.4 percent on their field goals, but Virginia's combination of a two-three zone and man-to-man defenses held them to 45.6 percent (26 of 57).
Dell Curry, who led Tech with 20 points, hit 10 of 16 shots from the field, but his teammates could not keep up. Forward Perry Young, who came into the game shooting 58 percent from the field, missed seven of 12 shots.
Virginia's sophomore center, Olden Polynice, continued his strong play since returning to the team after a self-imposed layoff.
Against Tech, Polynice was good on nine of 10 shots from the field and led all scorers with 21 points.
Polynice's dunk 13 seconds into the second half gave the Cavaliers a 32-30 lead. Virginia had rallied from a 13-6 deficit five minutes into the game to tie the score at intermission.
The Cavaliers led by six three times after that, the last time at 47-41 on a driving basket by Miller with nine minutes left.
But Curry began hitting jumpers from the side to lead a 6-0 run that tied the game at 47. Curry found Keith Colbert underneath for a layup to tie the score with 6:22 left.
The lead changed hands nine times thereafter. Tech's last lead came with 3:24 left when Bobby Beecher scored after an offensive rebound to make it 58-57.
Thirty seconds later, Dan Merrifield got open for a layup and Virginia had the lead again. Tech got a free throw from Colbert to tie the game at 59.
But Polynice took a pass inside from Tim Mullen to put the Cavaliers up for good, 61-59, with 1:46 remaining.