NOTRE DAME — Malcolm Brogdon had 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Virginia forced Notre Dame into making a season-high 20 turnovers Tuesday as the Cavaliers beat the Fighting Irish 68-53 for their fourth straight victory.
Brogdon, who scored in double figures for the eighth straight game, hit his first five shots as the Cavaliers raced to a 20-point lead in the first 15 minutes. After the Irish cut the lead to 10 points at halftime, the Cavaliers opened the second half with an 18-5 run to put the game away.
The Cavaliers (16-5, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) are off to their best league start since the squad led by Ralph Sampson in 1982-83 also started 7-1. The Irish (11-10, 2-6) have lost six of their last seven and their fourth home game, their most home losses since losing five during the 2005-06 season.
Mike Tobey added 14 points for the Cavaliers, who shot 54 percent for the game. Brogdon added five steals. Demetrius Jackson and Zach Auguste scored 10 points each for the Irish, who shot 43 percent.
The loss was the biggest this season by the Irish, who lost 83-70 to Indiana State in November. None of their previous ACC losses had been by more than eight points.
Just like in their previous six ACC victories, the Cavaliers opened a 20-point lead. The Cavaliers made 14 of their first 18 shots and used a 17-3 run to take a 32-12 lead when Anthony Gill made a 15-foot jumper. Notre Dame, which had a season-low five turnovers Saturday against Wake Forest, had 12 turnovers in the first 15 minutes, leading to 15 points by Virginia. The Irish finished the half with 13 turnovers, just four off the season-high 17 they had for the game against Maryland two weeks ago.
But Notre Dame finally showed signs of life late in the half when Connaughton hit a 3-pointer to spark a 9-0 run to avoid becoming the seventh team the Cavaliers held to fewer than 20 points in the first half, cutting the lead to 34-24 at halftime. The Cavaliers missed their final six shots, but still shot 60 percent for the half. The Cavaliers outscored the Irish 18-10 in the paint in the half.
The Cavaliers got started again quickly in the second half, hitting their first four shots and forcing two more turnovers during a 9-0 run to take a 43-24 lead and cruised to the win from there.
Garrick Sherman finished with eight points for the Irish, marking just the second time in the last 18 games he failed to score in double figures.