CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Virginia coach Tony Bennett described his team's game against Northeastern as "one of those smash-mouth games,” and for most of the night, the 22nd-ranked Cavaliers took most of the hits.

At least until Reece Beekman provided a finish to smile about.

Beekman scored 21 points, including the final four of the game as Virginia won a toe-to-toe struggle 56-54 on Saturday.

“Reece kind of decided to take over the game,” Bennett said.

Especially when it was hanging in the balance.

Beekman hit a pair of free throws to pull Virginia even at 54 with 52.7 seconds left, then banked in a short jumper with 5.1 seconds to go for the winning basket.

Bennett heaped praise on the Huskies and coach Bill Coen, in his 18th season, but allowed that “we weren't ready the way we needed to be, and it showed.”

The Cavaliers (9-1), who used a four-game winning streak to get back into the Top 25, were outshot and outrebounded by the Huskies of the Coastal Athletic Association, but forced 17 turnovers and outscored them 19-10 off takeaways.

After each team took a timeout with 3.2 seconds left, Northeastern (4-7) threw the ball away for its final turnover. Virginia's Andrew Rohde missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but that only left time for a full-court heave that wasn't close.

“I thought we had a winning effort but just came up a play short,” Coen said. “I thought our team got better today.”

Chris Doherty led the Huskies with 12 points and Joe Pridgen had 11.

Northeastern was 2-32 against opponents ranked in the AP Top 25 and looking for its first win over a ranked team since Nov. 27, 2015, when it beat No. 15 Miami. The Huskies shot 48.1% (13 for 27) in the first half against the NCAA's top field goal percentage defense (34.8%) and led 30-24 at halftime. It would have been more if not for their 10 first-half turnovers that Virginia turned into 11 points.

The last one of the night came on a play the Huskies have used effectively.

“I think we just mishandled the pass,” Coen said. “The timing of the pass was off.”


Northeastern: The Huskies came in averaging nearly 75 points per game and looked the part early, racing out to a 16-4 lead while badly outrebounding Virginia. Then they went cold and got sloppy as the Cavaliers' defense stiffened and a 16-2 run gave them a 20-18 lead before Northeastern scored nine straight.

Virginia: Cavaliers fans groaned for most of the first 34 minutes as Virginia led only briefly late in the first half, but they cheered when Isaac McKneely made a 3-pointer sandwiched around a pair of late shot-clock heaves by the Huskies to put the Cavaliers ahead 45-44. After the second Huskies miss, Beekman fed Ryan Dunn for a dunk that only made the arena louder - but the drama was not over.


Northeastern remains on the road, playing at Central Connecticut State on Tuesday night.

Virginia goes on the road, playing at Memphis on Monday night.


Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here.


AP college basketball: and

Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.