AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Justin Anderson is the kind of athlete that causes a stir in the crowd simply by having the ball.
He has delighted Virginia fans numerous times in his freshman season with soaring dunks, blocked shots from out of nowhere and the occasional sweetly stroked 3-pointer in a big spot. On Saturday, he helped carry the Cavaliers with an effort that suggests he's getting comfortable.
Anderson scored a career-high 16 points, including five during a 16-3 run early in the second half when the Cavaliers took command for good, and had two assists as Virginia beat Boston College 65-51 for its third consecutive victory.
"That's probably the most I've seen him around the lane, making some plays and some nice drives," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "He grew up in today's game. I like what I saw."
Anderson is one of four freshmen playing key roles for the Cavaliers this season, and his has grown because of a foot injury that has sidelined low-post player Darion Atkins. The additional playing time has accelerated his learning.
"I think we're starting to understand what it takes, and now that we're understanding what it takes we just want to continue to try to get big wins," he said. Anderson finished 7 for 9 from the field and missed his only 3-point try.
"When he first got here, he would get distracted in practice and I would tell him to stay focused," senior point guard and captain Jontel Evans said of Anderson. "He's been doing a great job ... and his effort has translated into the game."
Akil Mitchell added 16 points for the Cavaliers (14-5, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), and he and Anderson led a second-half surge in which Virginia pounded the ball inside, made 17 of 22 shots and pulled away after trailing 26-24 at the half.
"We just wanted to get it inside, period," Mitchell said. "We had a lot of good looks in the first half, but they just weren't falling for us, so we knew we had to get something going other than outside jumpers."
Mitchell was 6-for-10 from the field and grabbed six rebounds.
The Cavaliers, who rank second nationally in scoring defense (51.1 points per game), allowed five 3-pointers in the first half but just two more afterward in sending the Eagles (9-10, 1-5) to their fourth consecutive loss. BC shot 36 percent (17 of 47).
Ryan Anderson led Boston College with 14 points, but on 5-of-14 shooting, and Joe Rahon added 10.
"Overall, it was mostly about their defense," Anderson said. "They were taking away a lot of things that we like to do offensively. They were tougher than us."
The Eagles became the 16th opponent held under 60 points by Virginia this season, including all six of their ACC foes.
"Virginia does as good as anybody in the country making you play for 30 seconds, 35 seconds, and you've got to stay poised offensively and share the ball," Eagles coach Steve Donahue said. "We just got out of sync on offense."
Virginia shot 56.3 percent (27 of 48).
Boston College led 28-26 in the second half before Evan Nolte's putback tied it and sparked the big run for the Cavaliers. Mitchell followed with a three-point play, and after Ryan Anderson answered with one for Boston College, Virginia scored the next eight, prompting Donahue to call time.
Justin Anderson completed the burst with a three-point play, giving Virginia a 42-31 lead.
Rahon temporarily slowed the Cavaliers' momentum with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but Mike Tobey hit a baby hook on the baseline and Harris followed an Eagles free throw with a 3-pointer. The Eagles could do no better than trade baskets with Virginia the rest of the way.
Virginia led 15-9 until the Eagles hit four consecutive 3-pointers in a 12-0 run. Danny Rubin hit two and Lonnie Jackson hit two, and Jackson later added a third 1:13 before halftime to make it 26-24 Boston College at the break.
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