The top four finishers earn double-byes in the conference tournament next month.
“Every game is big at this point,” Virginia guard-forward Braxton Key said. “We feel like we can win out the rest of the regular season, and that’s one of our goals right now.”
Key and Kihei Clark scored 17 points apiece to lead five players in double figures, allowing Virginia to earn a series split with the Eagles (13-14, 7-9).
Jay Huff and Tomas Woldentensae each added 14 points, with Huff shooting 3 for 5 from three-point range and Woldentensae 4 for 8 from beyond the arc.
Virginia shot 10 for 17 from deep overall, making its second-most threes in a game this season. The Cavaliers shot a season-high 57.8 percent from the field.
“When you make some threes, it makes a big difference,” Cavaliers Coach Tony Bennett said.
Virginia is shooting 42 percent (47 for 112) on three-pointers over its past six games, by far its most productive run this season after it had been among the worst three-point-shooting teams in the country.
A three from Kody Stattmann with 5:22 left in the second half produced the Cavaliers’ largest lead of the night at 70-50, capping a 9-0 burst that all but settled the outcome.
Boston College got no closer than 12 points thereafter despite shooting 56 percent in the second half.
“I’ve just been putting up extra shots and doing extra stuff outside of practice,” said Stattmann, who finished with six points off the bench. “Like when I’m in, I just want to do my role, shoot the ball and play ‘D,’ so I’ve just been getting reps up, and I think it’s finally starting to come out a bit more.”
A 12-point halftime lead dwindled to 45-39 less than six minutes into the second half, but the Cavaliers countered on the strength of Clark’s decision-making and Key’s scoring.
Key tallied six consecutive points, aggressively going to the rim with Boston College forward Nik Popovic on the bench because of foul trouble. The senior transfer made both ends of a one-and-one and scored on a layup and a dunk, each courtesy of an assist from Clark, including a one-handed, no-look pass.
“This game was great,” Bennett said. “Our offense kind of carried us, but we talked about not getting too comfortable.”
The final margin was a departure from Virginia’s penchant for going down to the wire over the past few weeks, during which time it won four games by two possessions or fewer, including its previous two wins by a combined three points.
The Cavaliers were coming off a 64-62 win Saturday against struggling North Carolina, which finds itself in the unfamiliar position of last place in the ACC, thanks to Woldentensae’s three-pointer with eight-tenths of a second left.
Four days earlier, Virginia outlasted Notre Dame in overtime, 50-49, behind 20 points from Mamadi Diakite.
Points were also at a premium the first time Virginia faced Boston College early last month in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The Cavaliers lost that game, 60-53, even though the Eagles were considerably shorthanded, missing Popovic, a senior starter, with a back injury and Derryck Thornton, a graduate transfer point guard, because of an ankle injury.
Popovic was in the lineup this time and finished with a team-high 22 points despite his foul trouble. Thornton, the Eagles’ leading scorer at 13.1 points per game, had been on track to play, too, but wound up being a last-minute scratch because of back spasms.
“They shot the ball extremely well,” Boston College Coach Jim Christian said of the Cavaliers. “When they’re in a good rhythm, it’s hard. I think they did a great job. I’m not sure what Tony said, but they’re just playing with so much more confidence.”
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