Virginia recovers to slay upset-minded UNC Wilmington

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Early in the second half of Thursday's game, Virginia guard Marial Shayok took a few moments to gather himself and get up off the floor after withstanding a hard hit to draw a charging foul.

Minutes earlier, he had done just the same for the Cavaliers.

Shayok was calm on both ends to help fifth-seeded Virginia regroup after a slow start and survive a hot shooting performance from upset-minded No. 12 seed UNC Wilmington to earn a tense 76-71 victory at the Amway Center.

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Shayok finished with 23 points for the Cavaliers, who moved on to face the winner of Florida and East Tennessee State in the second round on Saturday. London Perrantes added a game-high 24 points, including 19 in the second half in what became a back-and-forth contest.

Virginia (23-10) used a 10-0 run during the second half to build a 54-45 lead, but UNC Wilmington refused to go away. Devontae Cacok made a layup to pull the Seahawks (29-6) within 73-71 with less than a minute to play before Shayok came through with another clutch moment and banked in a shot off the glass to push Virginia's cushion back to 75-71.

Denzel Ingram threw an errant pass into his own bench on the other end of the floor with 15.7 seconds remaining, and the Seahawks' upset bid ran out of time.

Chris Flemmings, who had a pair of and-ones in the second half, led UNC Wilmington with 18 points. Ingram had 17, including four 3-pointers, while Ambrose Mosley chipped in with 14, including making four 3s of his own.

Trailing 26-11 midway through the first half, the Cavaliers turned to Shayok to chip away at their early deficit. He responded with a driving layup, a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer during what became an extended 15-2 run to shake Virginia out of its sluggish start to the game.

UNC Wilmington had no such problems early on against the country's stingiest scoring defense.

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The Seahawks finished the regular season with the 14th-most made 3-pointers in the country, and it was easy to see why during the first half as Ingram and Mosley each connected on three 3-pointers.

But the Colonial Athletic Association champs couldn't maintain their blistering start. After making six of 12 tries from behind the arc in the first half, the Seahawks finished 10-for-26 shooting beyond the arc.

After a quiet first half, Perrantes looked like his usual self in the second half. Playing in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time, the senior hit shot after shot and teamed with Shayok to calm a young Virginia team.

Darius Thompson added 10 points for the Cavaliers, including a pair of important free throws late in the game.