CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Bradley coach Brian Wardle spent most of an hour at the last practice working on individual defense. It appears the Braves need even more practice time on it going forward.
Bradley was blown out by a Top 25 opponent for a second straight game, falling to No. 6 Virginia at the Charleston Classic on Thursday night. The defeat came three days after a 90-60 loss at No. 12 Arizona.
Wardle knew his young team — the Braves have 10 freshmen on the roster and started four of them against Virginia — needed work on its defense and took the time at practice to drill them. It did not show against the Cavaliers, who shot 56.6 percent in the win.
"These guys have to understand that our defense has got to be there. Because you're going to have lulls in a game," Wardle said. "But your defense has still got to be there. Your rebounding has still got to be there. That can never dip."
The Braves try and toughen up Friday night against Seton Hall, a Big East opponent who lost earlier in the day 80-77 to Long Beach State.
"We're a long ways away," Wardle said. "But we've got to keep trying and keep working."
Virginia used an 18-3 run to close the opening half to take control after the Braves led 22-19.
"I knew it was going click," said London Perrantes, who had 12 points for Virginia. "I feel like we definitely had to come out and respond. It's early. It's only our third game and we're still trying to figure out some things. It was just good to go out there again after Monday and play a game."
Virginia will face Long Beach State on Friday night for a spot Sunday in the championship game.
The Braves (1-2) are one of the youngest teams in the country, starting four freshman against the ACC powerhouse. Eventually, the Cavaliers experience took control.
Van Bree had 16 points, off four 3-pointers, to lead Bradley.
Gill hit six of his eight field goals. He added seven rebounds and two steals.
Perrantes had 12 points and Marial Shayok 10 to give Virginia four players in double figures as it recovered from Monday's loss at George Washington.
The Cavaliers ripped off an 18-3 run in the half's final seven minutes, showing power, smarts and top-notch defense. Gill had six points in the run, including a powerful jam that brought the few hundred Virginia fans here at TD Arena to their feet.
By the time Brogdon dropped in a basket in the final minute, the Cavaliers were ahead by double digits.
Bradley made just one of its final eight field goals of the half. The Braves committed four turnovers during Virginia's decisive run.
Things continued Virginia's way after the break. Gill had eight of the Cavaliers' first 13 points of the period to put them ahead 50-32. The margin eventually grew to 31 points in the final few minutes.
The Cavaliers made nine straight shots during a stretch in the second half, which saw the lead grow from 16 points to 70-44. Virginia coach Tony Bennett said it was a good showing by a team that needed it.
Bradley was blown out by a Top 25 team for the second straight game. It fell 90-60 at No. 12 Arizona this past Monday.
Bradley: The Braves have 10 freshmen on their 14-man roster, the most the team has suited up since freshman eligibility was restored in college basketball in 1972. Bradley had only eight freshman combined on its rosters of the previous three seasons.
Virginia: The Cavaliers have been among the top 10 in The AP college basketball rankings for 25 straight weeks, dating back to March 3, 2014. That is Virginia's long stretch since going 49 polls in the top 10 from 1980-83.
Bradley plays Seton Hall in a loser's bracket game Friday.
Virginia plays Long Beach State in a winner's bracket game Friday.