Given the opportunity to talk about himself, Virginia guard Sammy Zeglinski defers to the collective nearly every time.
Ask about his shooting, he'll credit team defense. Ask about his accuracy, he'll mention assisting teammates or maybe rebounding.
Zeglinski's attitude, as well as his play, embodied the effort required to give the Cavaliers their first victory in five weeks.
"We all just came in with a mind-set to be aggressive and not to back down," Zeglinski said after the ninth-seeded Cavaliers' 68-62 win Thursday against Boston College to open the ACC tournament.
"Last time we played them," he said, "I think they were mentally tougher than us, and we kind of took that personally. We wanted to come in, be more physical and not yield to their big bodies inside.
"Defensive rebounding was key. Also, just playing together, making the extra pass, playing unselfishly. Really, just playing for one another and for the coaching staff."
The depleted Cavaliers (15-15) snapped a nine-game losing streak dating back to a Feb. 3 victory against N.C. State. They also reversed a 68-55 loss to the Eagles (15-16) eight days earlier.
Virginia came to Greensboro minus leading scorer and second-team All-ACC guard Sylven Landesberg, suspended for violating team academic policy, and senior guard and tri-captain Calvin Baker of Newport News, who left the team this week for personal and family reasons.
"We've had some struggles, we've had some setbacks," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said, "but leading up to this game we've had three really spirited practices. They have come together, they have worked hard, there's been a good attitude. You have to do that when your tank isn't full."
Virginia demonstrated that resolve in a second-half comeback that ultimately fell short against Maryland in the regular-season finale. The Cavs carried that over to Thursday, with Zeglinski providing a jump-start.
The 6-foot sophomore from Philly scored 16 of his team-high 21 points in the first half — the second consecutive game he's been in double figures after a prolonged shooting slump.
"I felt good out there today," Zeglinski said. "My shot felt good. We didn't want to settle for any shots. I wanted to take the ball to the basket, as well, and just try to get the ball in the paint and make the extra pass for shooters."
Indeed, though Zeglinski tied his season-best with five 3-pointers, he also scored on several drives and routinely penetrated into the lane.
"It's just a mind-set, trying to get to the rim and making the right decision once you get in there," Zeglinski said. "I didn't want to come out and just be a jump-shooter. I wanted to be complete and get to the rim and make some good decisions."
The Cavaliers placed five in double figures, the first time that's happened since a Nov. 25 win against Cleveland State. Running mates Jeff Jones (14 points) and Mustapha Farrakhan (10) were productive on the perimeter.
Farrakhan also had one of the game's big baskets, a driving three-point play with 1:19 remaining that gave the Cavaliers a 61-52 cushion.
"With Sammy, with all of our guys," Bennett said, "if they get a good look in the rhythm of the offense, we say it's a 'green-light shot.' Take it as long as it's a good shot. I thought Sammy and Jeff and 'Mu' had a nice feel as far as their shot selection.
"When they're good looks, you have to take them when they present themselves. That's part of our offense. I think they played together well, and certainly I wanted them to be aggressive within the framework. He understands what good shots are."
Forward Mike Scott, inconsistent in recent weeks, contributed mightily as well off the bench with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Besides the numbers, he also helped contain Rakim Sanders, Boston College's 6-5 linebacker of a wing player, in the second half.
Though Sanders led all scorers with 22 points, he managed only one 3-pointer in the final 9 1/2 minutes. The Cavs also held BC leading scorer Joe Trapani to a season-low two points and no field goals before coach Al Skinner benched him for good midway through the second half.
Virginia's first ACC tournament win since 2006 earns the right to face top-seeded Duke in today's first quarterfinal. The Cavs were barely competitive in a 67-49 home loss to the Blue Devils on Feb. 28, a game in which Landesberg sat out with an injury.
"Their size and their pressure, it makes you think a little bit," Bennett said, "and hopefully we'll be better than the first time we played them because they certainly did take it to us."
VIRGINIA 68, BOSTON COLLEGE 62VIRGINIA (15-15): Farrakhan 3-9 4-5 10, Zeglinski 8-15 0-0 21, Sherrill 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 3-7 5-7 14, Meyinsse 4-7 4-5 12, Evans 0-3 0-0 0, Sene 0-0 0-0 0, Scott 5-11 1-3 11. Totals 23-53 14-20 68. BOSTON COLLEGE (15-16): Jackson 7-17 2-2 18, Raji 3-4 0-0 6, Trapani 0-7 2-2 2, Sanders 9-15 1-2 22, Southern 1-4 0-0 2, Paris 0-2 0-0 0, Roche 1-6 0-0 2, Ravenel 0-1 0-0 0, Elmore 4-4 2-2 10, Dunn 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-60 7-8 62. Halftime—Virginia 34-27. 3-Point Goals—Virginia 8-21 (Zeglinski 5-10, Jones 3-5, Sherrill 0-1, Scott 0-1, Farrakhan 0-4), Boston College 5-17 (Sanders 3-5, Jackson 2-6, Paris 0-1, Trapani 0-2, Roche 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Virginia 31 (Scott 13), Boston College 37 (Jackson 9). Assists—Virginia 13 (Evans, Farrakhan 4), Boston College 9 (Jackson, Sanders 3). Total Fouls—Virginia 11, Boston College 17. A—NA.