Cavaliers Open Season At Home Against Longwood On Friday
CHARLOTTESVILLE—The Virginia men’s basketball team opens its 2009-10 season on Friday (Nov. 13) at John Paul Jones Arena against Longwood. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will be the first for Tony Bennett as head coach of the Cavaliers.
Reserved seat tickets are available for the Virginia-Longwood game at a cost of $15 each. Family Packages are also available for the game with Longwood. Family Packages include four tickets, four hot dogs and four 22-ounce sodas. The cost of a Family Package for the Longwood game is $48 with additional tickets costing $12 each.
Bennett is in his first season at Virginia after spending the last three years as the head men’s basketball coach at Washington State. He and his staff will be working to revive a UVa program that finished with an overall record of 10-18 last season, including a 4-12 record and an 11th place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Bennett was part of a building process at Washington State where he served as an assistant to his father, Dick Bennett, before becoming the Cougars’ head coach prior to the 2006-07 season. The 2007 National Coach of the Year, Tony Bennett led the Cougars to an overall record of 69-33 and three postseason tournament appearances. The 69 wins are the most over any three-year period in school history and his Washington State teams were 32-22 in the Pac-10.
Sophomore Sylven Landesberg, a 6-6 guard, and 6-8 junior forward Mike Scott head the list of returning players for Virginia.
Landesberg was the ACC Rookie of the Year last season. He started 27 of the team’s 28 games in 2008-09 and averaged 16.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 34.2 minutes per game. He led the team in scoring and minutes played, and was second in rebounds and assists.
Scott led the team in rebounding and was second in scoring last season. He played in all 28 games, starting 19, and averaged 10.3 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. He also shot 54.4 percent (111-204) from the field and 74.1 percent (63-85) from the free-throw line.
Virginia has won its last 11 season openers and its last 12 home openers. The Longwood game marks the 11th consecutive season the Cavaliers have opened at home.
Bennett was 3-0 in season openers at Washington State.
Virginia leads the series with Longwood 4-0 and all of the games have been played in Charlottesville. The teams are playing for the fifth consecutive season and UVa won last year’s game 90-61 at John Paul Jones Arena. Landesberg scored 20 points to lead four Cavaliers in double figure scoring in last season’s victory over the Lancers.
Ten lettermen, including four starters, return from last season’s Longwood team that compiled an overall record of 17-14. The Lancers’ 17 wins are the program’s highest win total since beginning Division I scheduling in 2004-05 and are the most wins overall for the program since the 2000-01 season. Longwood competes as an independent.
The returning starters include 6-5 senior Dana Smith, 6-1 senior Kevin Swecker, 6-7 senior Billy Robinson and 6-1 junior Durann Neil. Smith led the team in scoring (14.8 ppg.) and rebounding (6.4 rpg.) last season, while Swecker averaged 10.9 points a game (made 63 three-point field goals), Robinson 7.2 points per game, and Neil 7.1 points and a team-leading 3.9 assists per game.
Mike Gillian is in his seventh year as the Lancers’ head coach.
After the Longwood game the Cavaliers return to action on Monday (Nov. 16) when they play South Florida in Tampa. That game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.