Cavaliers Host Penn State In Big Ten/ACC Challenge On Monday
CHARLOTTESVILLE-The Virginia men’s basketball team hosts Penn State on Monday (Nov. 30) at John Paul Jones Arena in the first game of the 2009 Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Monday’s game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and tickets are available. The game will be broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network and will be televised by ESPN2.
UVa enters the game with a 4-2 record after splitting two games in the Cancun Challenge in Cancun, Mexico, Nov. 24-25. The Cavaliers lost to Stanford 57-52 before defeating Cleveland State 76-65. Virginia rallied from a 10-point second half deficit in the victory over Cleveland State.
“You’re going to face adversity so you have to be able to handle that and not just crack,” UVa head coach Tony Bennett said after the Cleveland State game. “Against South Florida and Stanford we didn’t answer the challenge. That was a good sign tonight. I was happy for the guys.”
Penn State also enters Monday’s game with a 4-2 record.
Virginia had five players score in double figures for the second time this season in the victory over Cleveland State. Sophomore guard Sylven Landesberg scored a game-high 20 points, while junior forward Will Sherrill had a career-high 18 points. Junior forward Mike Scott scored 15 points, junior guard Mustapha Farrakhan had 11 points and sophomore guard Sammy Zeglinski added 10 points.
Landesberg also had five rebounds, five assists, one steal and just one turnover in 38 minutes of playing time against Cleveland State.
Sherrill was 7-9 from the field, including 4-5 from three-point range, and scored 15 of his points in the second half against the Vikings. He also established career highs with seven field goals, four three-point field goals, three steals, two assists, one blocked shot and 24 minutes played.
Sherrill talked about his performance after the Cleveland State game.
“When I was thinking about coming to Virginia this is the way I hoped it would turn out,” Sherrill said. “Tonight was a big win for us because we faced some adversity. We were down at halftime. I’m thankful I was able to come in and give us a lift. My teammates were able to find me when I was wide open in rhythm and I was able to knock them down. The shots were falling.
“This has to be the start of something for us as a team. Hopefully I keep playing well, but just for us as a team it has to be the start of something where no matter what happens we keep fighting and we stay together. It’s one win and we’ve got to build on it. There are a lot of things we need to do better, but it’s a great feeling right now.”
Scott had a game-high eight rebounds and three assists against Cleveland State.
Virginia shot 52.8 percent (28-53) from the field against the Vikings, including 58.8 percent (10-17) from three-point range. The Cavaliers shot 66.7 percent (18-27) from the field in the second half. It’s the third time this season UVa has shot higher than 50 percent from the field in a game.
Landesberg and Scott are both averaging in double figures in scoring for the season. Landesberg leads the Cavaliers with an average of 16.2 points a game and Scott is averaging 12.5 points a game. Scott leads UVa in rebounds with an average of 9.0 rebounds per game and he is shooting 57.4 percent (31-54) from the field. Farrakhan leads the team in assists with 14.
Virginia has a 5-4 record in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and the Cavaliers are 4-0 at home in the Challenge. Last year UVa lost 66-56 at Minnesota in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Penn State has won its last two games, defeating Davidson (59-57) and Sacred Heart (87-75). In the victory over Sacred Heart on Nov. 25, the Nittany Lions shot 63.8 percent from the field.
Junior guard Talor Battle leads Penn State in scoring, rebounding and assists with averages of 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last season and is a preseason candidate for the 2010 Wooden and Naismith awards. Other double figure scorers for the Nittany Lions are junior forward David Jackson (11.2 ppg.) and junior forward Jeff Brooks (10.3 ppg.).
Ed DeChellis is in his seventh season as the Nittany Lions’ head coach. A graduate of Penn State, he led the Nittany Lions to the National Invitation Tournament Championship last season.
Virginia leads the series with Penn State 5-2 and the Cavaliers have won the last four games in the series. UVa has won all three games played in Charlottesville in the series. The Nittany Lions haven’t played at Virginia since the 1977-78 season.
After the game with Penn State, the Cavaliers return to action on Dec. 7 at Auburn. That game is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Eastern time.