CHARLESTON — Virginia coach Tony Bennett loved his experience at the Charleston Classic.
“The food’s great,” he said with a smile.
And, oh yeah, the sixth-ranked Cavaliers played great, too.
Malcolm Brogdon had 21 points, London Perrantes had 16 points and 11 assists and Virginia got a third blowout victory and the Charleston Classic title with an 83-66 win over George Mason on Sunday night.
A week that began with an upset loss at George Washington ended with the Cavaliers lifting a tournament trophy.
“It was definitely tough for us and the next day we got after it again,” said Perrantes, named the tournament’s MVP. “We can’t do anything about that loss except move on and learn from it. Hopefully, it helps us in the long run.”
It certainly fired up the Cavaliers in three games at TD Arena.
They opened with an 82-57 win over Bradley on Thursday, then beat Long Beach State 87-52 on Friday night. Virginia led George Mason by 23 points in the second half until their starters left the game in the final minutes.
“I think we took a step in the right direction for the most part,” Bennett said. “But you have to start over every game. If you assume you’ve got it defensively, you’re going down the wrong path.”
It was the team’s third straight year with an in-season tournament crown: Virginia topped the field to take the Corpus Christi Championship in 2013 and the Barclays Center Classic title in 2014.
Virginia was tied with the Patriots (2-3) at 13 when it took off on a 17-7 surge.
After George Mason got within 36-33, the Cavaliers outscored the Patriots 11-6 the rest of the first half to move comfortably in front 47-39.
Jaire Grayer led George Mason with 16 points.
Anthony Gill had 15 points and Mike Tobey 14 for Virginia.
Shevon Thompson fell two rebounds shy of his third straight double-double in Charleston, finishing with 11 points and eight rebounds for the Patriots. Thompson went for 19 points and 16 rebounds in a win here over Ole Miss on Thursday, then came back with 20 points and 17 boards in beating Oklahoma State on Friday.
However, Virginia’s size with Tobey and Gill underneath was too much for Thompson to overcome.
After knocking off Southeastern Conference and Big 12 opponents to get to the finals, coach Dave Paulsen was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We’re not in this for moral victories and we came out here to win this game,” he said. “But we made tremendous strides as a team.”
Perrantes’ double-double was his first since he had 10 points and 10 assists against Syracuse last March.
Virginia used big first-half runs to pull away from Bradley and Long Beach State, and it looked like the Cavaliers would use the same formula against the Patriots. Tobey had four baskets, all from in close, to fuel the 17-7 run over a 6-minute stretch of the period to lead 30-20.
Virginia picked things up in the second half, opening with an 8-1 run to increase the lead to 55-40. George Mason couldn’t get closer than eight points the rest of the way.