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If ever there were a time for Georgia Tech men's basketball coach Josh Pastner to collect his first win over Virginia's Tony Bennett, it would have come Wednesday night in Atlanta.
Instead, the Cavaliers rallied for a 57-49 victory at MacCamish Pavilion.
Pastner has faced Bennett on eight occasions, the first of which came in an NCAA Tournament game in 2014, when Pastner was the head coach at Memphis.
The Cavaliers were 78-60 winners over Memphis in a third-round NCAA Tournament game before losing to Michigan State 61-59 in a region semifinal.
As for the UVa-Georgia Tech series, it has become increasingly competitive. Prior to its 57-49 victory Wednesday night in Atlanta, Virginia had defeated the Yellow Jackets 64-62 on Jan. 23 in Charlottesville.
In their only meeting last year, a late rally lifted the Cavaliers to a 63-58 victory in Atlanta.
The Yellow Jackets, now 9-7 overall and 5-5 in the ACC, had beaten North Carolina earlier in the season and added victories over Clemson and Florida State when both teams were ranked.
Virginia entered Wednesday night's game as a somewhat scary four-point favorite and neither team had a double-figure lead.
With a whopping 17 turnovers, Virginia did not put itself in a good spot. However, the Cavaliers shot 49 percent from the field, compared to Georgia Tech's 36-percent marksmanship
UVa outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 35-21, getting almost as many rebounds out of Sam Hauser and Jay Huff (19) as Tech did as a team.
Neither Hauser nor Huff scored in double figures. The Cavaliers were led by Trey Murphy III with 18 points and Kihei Clark with 14.
Murphy had 13 of his 18 points in the first half, and Clark scored all 14 of his points in the second half. Hauser and Huff combined for two points in the first half.
"When we went in at halftime, everybody was talking and I talked to Kihei as well," Bennett said. "I told him, 'Look, they’re going to go on and be like that. Shoot the ball.
"We've been working all summer and preseason on his jump shot and he was knocking it down very consistently."
Pastner used 6-foot Jose Alvarado to guard Hauser, who was held to eight points but contributed a game-high 10 rebounds and five assists. Clark had six assists and was one of four UVa players to log 38 minutes or more.
Tomas Woldtensae played 18 minutes off the bench but did not endear himself to Bennett.
"We got back-doored a couple of times and had some breakdowns," Bennett said. "This one killed me: Tomas checked in the game and he's got his necklace on and I hear one of our guys on our bench say, 'Hey, Tomas, your necklace.'
"He's sitting there trying to get his necklace off, they run the play, his guy goes to the corner and hits a '3' and [Bennett] about lost it. I was thinking, if we lose by three because we're trying to get our dang gold chain off, then we we have some issues."
Next up for the Cavaliers (14-3, 10-1 ACC) is North Carolina, which comes to John Paul Jones Arena for a 6 p.m. Saturday tipoff. The Tar Heels, who are 12-6 and 7-4, have not played for a week following the cancellation of a scheduled game with Miami.
That game was not played after two North Carolina players were seen maskless in a video following a 91-87 victory at Duke.
-- Doug Doughty