CHARLOTTESVILE, Va. – Freshman Ryan Dunn is still finding his way at Virginia, but when the No. 7 Cavaliers needed a spark Saturday, he provided it.
Dunn had a putback dunk and an alley-oop dunk in an 18-4 first-half run that gave Virginia control in its 76-57 victory over Boston College.
“I try to bring energy as much as I can,” said Dunner, who finished with six points, four rebounds and two steals. “Just being able to go out and to play with that type of intensity and passion is kind of a big thing for me.”
And for the Cavaliers, it’s especially big on the defensive end.
“I think his ability just on defense to just be a nightmare is something we need and it’s scary to see what he’s going to be down the line,” forward Jayden Gardner said.
Gardner and Armaan Franklin scored 18 points each as Virginia used the first-half run to take command and a 16-4 burst in the second half to put the game away for their sixth consecutive victory.
The Cavaliers (16-3, 8-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 18-15 before dominating the next 11 minutes. Gardner’s basket started the first-half run, and Franklin had a 3-pointer, three free throws and a 2-point shot in the flurry.
But Dunn’s plays, which riled up the crowd, were key, Eagles coach Earl Grant said.
“They do a really good job of grinding on both ends, you know, offensively and defensively. That’s something that they just do a really good job of, have a good maturity. Sort of the last thing you want to do is give them opportunities to get some easy baskets. And I thought that was a difference in the game,” he said
Quinten Post scored 24 to lead the Eagles (10-12, 4-7). He made his first four shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, and scored 14 straight for Boston College in the first half.
In the second half, after the Eagles closed to within 50-41, Virginia’s Isaac McKneely scored off a steal by Dunn, Franklin added five points and McKneely made a 3-pointer to highlight the run that made it 66-45.
McKneely finished with 12 points and Reece Beekman had 11 and eight assists.
Makai Ashton-Langford added 12 points for the Eagles.
Boston College: Post had an eventful first six minutes. He turned the ball over on three of the Eagles’ first four possessions, then hit his first four shots and scored 14 points in a span of less than three minutes. He finished with four turnovers.
Dunn’s brother, Justin, played baseball for the Eagles and was on a team that beat the Cavaliers, and Ryan wanted to even the score.
“I just wanted to come out and play this game,” he said.
Justin Dunn is in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Boston College: The Eagles return home to face No. 24 Clemson on Tuesday night.
Virginia: The Cavaliers have a quick turnaround with travel. play at Syracuse on Monday night. Virginia beat the Orange 73-66 on Jan. 7.