Legends Classic, college basketball, Prudential Center

Virginia, Providence advance to title game at Legends Classic

Monday saw the 14th annual Legends Classic at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The two-day college basketball tournament features Northwestern, Virginia, Providence and Georgia competing for the crown in the prestigious tournament. Let's look back at Day One at The Rock.

Virginia 65, Georgia 55

Virginia played their well-known tight defense early on, forcing three early Georgia turnovers that led to points on the offensive end. At the midway point of the first half, the Cavaliers held a four-point lead on the Bulldogs, although Virginia struggled shooting from the field throughout the half. Georgia turned up the defensive pressure on Virginia and received some timely shooting from guard Jailyn Ingram to cut Virginia's lead as the first half ticked away.

The turning point of the first 20 minutes of play came when Virginia went ice cold from the field as the half ended. Georgia (2-3) capitalized as they held the Cavaliers without a field goal for over four minutes to take a surprising 34-31 lead into the locker room.

Virginia (3-2) came out of the locker room, forcing two turnovers and seemingly playing with more intensity out of halftime as they held Georgia scoreless for the first four minutes of the second half. Jabri Abdur-Rahim finally gave the Bulldogs a basket at the 15:42 mark of the half, but Georgia could not withstand the pressure from Virginia. The action slowed considerably at the midway point of the half as Georgia tied the game on a Tyron Macmillan dunk with 11:22 left.

Georgia went cold as they turned the ball over six times over 4:37 and went scoreless for over two and half minutes as Virginia slowed the pace down and forced Virginia into numerous bad possessions.

"Our guys kept fighting and going through it," said Georgia head coach Tom Crean after the game. "We'll shoot better, there's no doubt about it…We were good in the first half (with ball security), but we weren't as good in the second half, but they have some outstanding guard play."

Two Armaan Franklin baskets righted the ship for Virginia as it became an uphill battle for Georgia down the stretch. A few Virginia free throws capped the win for the Cavaliers as they advance to Tuesday's Legends Classic championship game in Newark.

Franklin scored a game-high 23 points for Virginia while Kihei Clark added 12 points.

Braelen Bridges led Georgia with 14 points as the Bulldogs won the rebounding battle 42-29 in the loss.

Providence 77, Northwestern 72

Providence started hot as they hit three early three-pointers and dominated the boards to jump out to a 19-6 lead at the 11:03 mark of the first half. Northwestern struggled going three minutes without a field goal until Pete Nance knocked down a trey. From there, the Wildcats went on a 6-0 run and held the Friars scoreless to cut the lead to 19-12.

The half was one of runs as both Providence and Northwestern traded runs and defensive stops. The story throughout the half continued to be Providence's shooting from deep as they hit eight threes in the first half, led by Brycen Goodine, who knocked down three from beyond the arc. Northwestern ended the half on an 8-3 run to go into the locker room down just nine, 36-27.

Providence continued their hot shooting and extended their lead to 41-27 after a three from Justin Minaya. Nate Watson's alley-oop brought the crowd to their feet as he started dominating the Wildcats, scoring eight big points as the Friars pushed their lead to 15 at the 13:19 mark of the second-half mark.

Northwestern (4-1) went on a 9-0 run over 1:36 to pull to within nine after a Nance trey with 9:34 left. The Wildcats continued to show signs of life as they cut the lead down to six, holding Providence scoreless for over five minutes when Noah Horchler hit a three-pointer with 3:39 left to stretch the lead back to nine. From there, the Friars held on, albeit Northwestern made it tight inside two minutes, to give the program 1,500 all-time victories.

Watson led Providence (5-0) with 16 points. Jared Bynum finished with 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists.

Boo Buie scored a game-high 23 points for Northwestern, and Nance finished with 20 points.

Tuesday at the Legends Classic

The consolation game in the Legends Classic will feature Northwestern facing Georgia at 5 p.m. The championship at 7:30 p.m. will have Providence and Virginia battling for the crown at the Prudential Center. Both games can be seen on ESPN2.

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