Cavaliers Play At Wake Forest On Saturday
CHARLOTTESVILLE— The Virginia men’s basketball team returns to Atlantic Coast Conference action on Saturday when the Cavaliers play at Wake Forest in a game that is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
Saturday’s game will be televised by Raycom and broadcast by the Virginia Sports Radio Network.
UVa has won its last eight games and enters the game with an overall record of 12-4 and a 3-0 record in the ACC. The Cavaliers are the only ACC team undefeated in conference play and the eight-game winning streak is Virginia’s longest since the Cavaliers won the first eight games of the 2003-04 season.
Wake Forest enters Saturday’s game with an overall record of 13-4 and a 3-2 record in the ACC. The Demon Deacons are coming off an 82-69 win at North Carolina on Wednesday (Jan. 20).
Virginia heads to Winston-Salem, N.C., after a 69-67 victory over UNC Wilmington on Monday (Jan. 18) at John Paul Jones Arena. Sophomore guard Sylven Landesberg’s jumper with 2.2 seconds left to play provided the Cavaliers with the victory.
UVa led by as many as 16 points in the second half before the Seahawks rallied to take the lead. The Cavaliers trailed 64-60 with 2:59 to play before outscoring UNC Wilmington 9-3 down the stretch to win the game.
Landesberg led four Virginia players in double figure scoring against the Seahawks with 19 points. Senior forward/center Jerome Meyinsse scored a career-high 14 points, junior forward Mike Scott had 12 points and sophomore guard Sammy Zeglinski had 10 points and team-high totals of eight rebounds and five assists.
“We walk a fine line and when we are sharp and focused, we will compete,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said after the game. “When we get away from it, then we become below average. Not to take anything away from Wilmington – they are hard to guard, but we did not do our part.”
As a team the Cavaliers out-rebounded UNC Wilmington 32-25, shot 83.3 percent (20-24) from the free throw line and had a season-high 12 steals in the game. UVa shot 42.6 percent (23-54) from the field, including 30 percent (3-10) from three-point range.
UNC Wilmington shot 51.0 percent (26-51) from the field, including 45.8 percent (11-24) from three-point range, and 80 percent (4-5) from the free throw line.
“We made some good individual plays – the 50-50 balls at the end – Sammy ran one down and certainly Jontel, that was terrific,” Bennett said. “The individual plays like the big basket by Sylven when we ran a set for him and he made a nice move and then to hit the game winner, we executed that. Those went well, but that isn’t the way we are going to have to play to be competitive and successful in this league as far as a team. You are not just going to out-individualize people at our level. We were fortunate. We will learn from it. I am thankful for the win, but we realize that we have stuff we have to clean up and we can’t ever stop.”
Landesberg leads Virginia in scoring and minutes played. He is averaging 17.5 points and 31.5 minutes played a game, and is shooting 83.0 percent (78-94) from the free-throw line. Landesberg is fifth in the ACC in scoring and free throw percentage, and 10th in minutes played.
Scott leads the team in rebounding with an average of 7.6 rebounds a game and he is second in scoring with an average of 13.2 points a game. He is shooting 57.3 percent (75-131) from the field. Scott ranks second in the conference in field goal percentage and 11th in rebounding.
Zeglinski is the third player averaging in double figures in scoring for the Cavaliers. He is averaging 10.6 points a game and leads the team in assists with an average of 2.8 a game (45 assists). Zeglinski leads the ACC in three-point field goal percentage at 48.7 percent (38-78) and is third in the conference in three-point field goals per game with an average of 2.4 a game.
Junior guards Mustapha Farrakhan and Jeff Jones have provided Virginia with a lift off the bench. Farrakhan is averaging 7.1 points and 2.0 assists a game, while Jones is averaging 7.1 points and is shooting 46.8 percent (22-47) from three-point range, including 85.7 percent (6-7) in ACC games.
Meyinsse is averaging 8.5 points a game in the last four games. In the last nine games, freshman guard Jontel Evans is shooting 50 percent (17-34) from the field with 29 assists, 15 steals and just five turnovers.
As a team Virginia is averaging 71.1 points a game and allowing an average of 60.4 points a game. The Cavaliers are shooting 46.1 percent (407-882) from the field, including 41.5 percent (102-246) from three-point range, and 76.3 percent (222-291) from the free-throw line. UVa is averaging 14.3 assists and 10.2 turnovers a game.
The Cavaliers rank first in the ACC in three-point field goal percentage, second in free throw percentage and assist to turnover ratio (1.4) and third in scoring defense.
Wake Forest is led by sophomore forward Al-Farouq Aminu who is averaging 17.3 points and 11.5 rebounds a game. He leads the ACC in rebounding and ranks sixth in scoring.
Senior guard Ishmael Smith is averaging 13.1 points a game and leads the team in assists with an average of 5.9 a game (100 assists). Smith is third in the conference in assists and tied for fourth in steals (1.8 a game). Freshman guard C.J. Harris is the third double figure scorer for the Demon Deacons with an average of 11.9 points a game.
As a team Wake Forest is averaging 77.2 points a game and allowing an average of 67.9 points a game. The Demon Deacons are shooting 45.6 percent (475-1042) from the field, including 34.8 percent (79-227) from three-point range, and 66.0 percent (283-429) from the free throw line. Wake Forest ranks third in the conference in field goal percentage defense (37.1 percent).
The Demon Deacons lead the series with the Cavaliers 66-59 and lead 38-13 in games played in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons have won the last seven games played between the two teams in Winston-Salem.
After the game at Wake Forest, Virginia returns to John Paul Jones Arena to play Virginia Tech on Thursday (Jan. 28). That game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.