CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (Ticker) -- Todd Billet ended a few weeks worth of frustration for Virginia.
Billet nailed a 3-pointer with three seconds left to lift the Cavaliers to a surprising 82-80 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over No. 16 Georgia Tech.
Virginia (13-9, 3-8 ACC) ended a five-game skid with its first win since January 20. The Cavaliers closed the game on a 13-4 tear, which was made even more impressive since leading scorer Elton Brown had fouled out.
Georgia Tech (18-6, 5-5) still held a 78-73 lead on Will Bynum's basket with 1:49 left. But a 3-pointer by Devin Smith and a three-point play by freshman T.J. Bannister around a hoop by the Yellow Jackets' Luke Schenscher cut the deficit to 80-79.
After the Yellow Jackets failed to score, Smith missed a go-ahead jumper for the Cavaliers. But Virginia came up with the offensive rebound and set up before Billet let fly with the game-winning jumper.
"My (former) boss, Digger Phelps, said it was a 40-minute game," embattled Virginia coach Pete Gillen said. "Todd Billet had not done much for 39 minutes, 57 1/2 seconds, (but) he hit a big three that won the game."
The Yellow Jackets lost their third straight ACC road game. They were left lamenting the fact that their defense failed them after Schenscher's foul shot opened up a 76-69 lead with 2:59 to go.
"Virginia could have folded when we got the lead to six and I think it might have been seven at one time," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "But they battled back and scored pretty easily against us."
The Cavaliers played well early after spotting the Yellow Jackets the game's first seven points. Virginia led by as many as 11 points and settled for a 37-29 cushion at halftime.
B.J. Elder nailed back-to-back 3-pointers as part of a 12-2 run that opened the second half and gave Georgia Tech a 41-39 lead. Elder got hot and scored 14 of his 22 points after halftime.
"We knew they'd make a run in the second half, because they're a tremendous team," Gillen said.
The Yellow Jackets shot a sizzling 62 percent (18-of-29) after halftime. The Cavaliers' Devin Smith helped his team keep pace with all 16 points off the bench.
"Devin Smith had 16 points in the second half," Gillen said. "He's playing with a lot of pain and for him to get 16 points, I can't explain that."
Virginia won for just the second time in the last 10 meetings with Georgia Tech.