Cavaliers Try to Rebound From First Loss In Visit to Clemson
Jan. 8, 2002
All the close calls finally caught up with Virginia. The seventh-rankedCavaliers will have to bounce back on the road Tuesday when they continueACC action with a trip to Clemson.
Virginia (9-1, 0-1 ACC) was among the group of four remaining unbeaten teamsin Division I entering this past weekend, and all four lost. The Cavaliersdropped their conference opener for the seventh straight year, gettingstunned at home by North Carolina State 81-74 on Saturday.
Four of Virginia’s previous six games were decided by eight points or fewer,but only one came against a ranked team. Coach Pete Gillen apparently couldsee the upset coming with his team often playing down to its competition.
“We were able to escape some non-conference games where we had a bigdeficit, and you just can’t keep doing that,” he said. “I don’t know if ourguys just think that they can turn it on and off.”
Gillen’s team has struggled to turn it on when playing away from home thisseason.
The Cavaliers played their first road game at Auburn on Dec. 8 and trailedwith less than two minutes to go before escaping with a 77-72 victory. Theironly other road game came against Georgetown on Dec. 20, emerging with a61-55 win despite getting held to their lowest point total of the season.
Virginia leading scorer Roger Mason Jr. scored 18 points – slightly belowhis season average – in Saturday’s setback but made just 5-of-18 from thefield. Travis Watson led the Cavaliers with 20 points and 13 rebounds, whileChris Williams added 18 points in the loss.
Williams is second on the team with 15.8 points per game and Watson, who hasfive double-doubles in his last six games, is averaging 13.7 points and 10.8rebounds.
Clemson (10-5, 1-1) had a much better weekend than Virginia, posting an83-76 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Chris Hobbs, who averages a team-high 13.6 points, had one of his best gamesof the season with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tigers hope to carry that momentum into this contest as they try to enda four-game losing streak to the Cavaliers. Virginia holds a 58-43 lead inthe all-time series.