Texas-Pan American Visits JPJA On Tuesday
CHARLOTTESVILLE—The Virginia men’s basketball team hosts Texas-Pan American at John Paul Jones Arena on Tuesday (Jan. 5) in the Cavaliers’ final game before beginning Atlantic Coast Conference play. UVa plays at NC State on Saturday (Jan. 9).
Tuesday’s game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and reserved seat tickets are available at a cost of $15. The game will be broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network.
UVa enters the game with a three-game winning streak and an overall record of 7-4 after a 72-63 victory over No. 24 UAB last Wednesday (Dec. 30) at JPJA.
Sophomore guard Sylven Landesberg scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds and had four assists to lead the Cavaliers, but several Virginia players made important contributions to the victory. Landesberg has scored in double figures in every game this season.
Junior forward Mike Scott returned after missing three games with an ankle injury. He scored 10 points and led the team with seven rebounds.
Junior guard Mustapha Farrakhan scored 10 points, tied a career-high with two blocked shots, had two assists, two rebounds, one steal and no turnovers in 21 minutes while taking on the challenge of guarding the Blazers’ Elijah Millsap. Farrakhan is shooting 60 percent (6-10) from the field, including 80 percent (4-5) from three-point range, and has made all four of his free throw attempts in the last two games.
Freshman guard Jontel Evans scored a season-high nine points, had three assists, two steals and no turnovers in 21 minutes. Evans is shooting 66.7 percent (10-15) from the field with 14 assists, seven steals and just three turnovers in the last four games.
Sophomore guard Sammy Zeglinski added nine points, senior guard Calvin Baker scored eight points and had a season-high six assists, and senior center/forward Jerome Meyinsse scored a season-high six points and had three rebounds.
“UAB is a talented team,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said after the game. “It’s a prelude to what we’re going to see in the ACC. We had to play well to be in it. We didn’t play perfect by any means, early on they got baskets at the rim and in the paint, but we toughened up as the game went on and it was definitely a team effort. That’s what I liked about it. Sammy did a nice job finding people. Mike Scott helped us. I can go down the list and it was a complete team effort. I like it that I think we won it with our defense in the second half, I’ll have to watch the tape, but that always makes me happy.”
As a team, Virginia shot 48.1 percent (25-52) from the field, including 46.2 percent (6-13) from three-point range, and 76.2 percent (16-21) from the free-throw line. The Cavaliers limited UAB to 39.3 percent (11-28) shooting from the field in the second half and the Blazers shot just 14.3 percent (2-14) from three-point range in the game. UAB also made just five of 15 free throw attempts.
Bennett was pleased with the victory over a ranked team.
“It’s good for our guys,” Bennett said. “The way I’m trying to do it with them … I’m not letting them take shortcuts. I’m demanding certain things defensively. We try and hold them accountable for staying in the stance. Offensively we’re asking them to make the extra pass and be really team-oriented. It’s not an easy way, but it’s something that when it’s played well stands up to good competition.”
Landesberg leads Virginia in scoring, assists and minutes played. He is averaging 16.2 points, 2.8 assists and 31.0 minutes played a game.
Scott is UVa’s leading rebounder with an average of 9.0 a game and he is averaging 12.8 points a game. He is shooting 57.3 percent (43-75) from the field.
Zeglinski is the third Virginia player averaging in double figures in scoring with an average of 10.6 points a game. He is shooting 47.4 percent (27-57) from three-point range.
As a team UVa is scoring an average of 70.0 points a game and allowing an average of 59.3 points a game.
Texas-Pan American enters Tuesday’s game with an overall record of 1-14 and the Broncs have lost their last nine games. Texas-Pan American is coming off a 72-65 loss at Air Force on Saturday (Jan. 2).
Sophomore guard Jared Maree leads the Broncs in scoring with an average of 9.6 points a game. Maree is shooting 44.4 percent (12-27) from three-point range and 88.1 percent (52-59) from the free-throw line.
Senior forward Luis Valera is averaging 8.6 points a game and is shooting 52.9 percent (54-102) from the field, while junior guard Nick Weiermiller is averaging 8.5 points a game and leads the team in assists with 50 (3.3 apg.). Junior forward Matt Mierzycki is averaging 7.7 points and 5.7 rebounds a game in six games. Senior guard Ben Smith is averaging 6.9 points a game.
Ryan Marks is in his first season as head coach of the Broncs.
Tuesday’s game is the first meeting between Texas-Pan American and Virginia.
After the game with Texas-Pan American, UVa opens ACC play at NC State on Saturday (Jan. 9). Saturday’s game is scheduled to begin at noon and will be televised by Raycom.