Clemson-Virginia Preview

It’s difficult to score against Virginia and Clemson, and that

was apparent the last time these teams met.

Another low-scoring affair figures to be in order Tuesday night

when the 16th-ranked Cavaliers meet a Tigers team seeking to end a

four-game road slide.

Virginia (17-3, 4-2 ACC) is second in the country in scoring

defense, yielding 50.6 points per game, while Clemson (11-9, 3-3)

is second in the conference in that department at 59.7.

It’s been almost a year since these teams met in Charlottesville

on Feb. 2, when Virginia won 49-47. A fast start was a key to that

game as the Cavaliers never trailed after a 14-1 run over the first

seven minutes.

This rematch will be different because Virginia’s Mike Scott was

out with an ankle injury for last year’s meeting. The fifth-year

senior now leads the team in points per game (16.7), rebounds per

game (8.3) and field-goal percentage (57.4).

Scott has posted back-to-back 18-point efforts in victories for

Virginia, which won 61-60 at North Carolina State on Saturday. The

Cavaliers built a 38-31 halftime lead before limiting the Wolfpack

to 35.5 percent shooting after the break to hold on.

“Our offense kept us in it the first half and gave us the lead

where our defense let us down,” coach Tony Bennett said. “In the

second half, I thought our defense was better – not great, but

better – and our offense struggled.”

Bennett’s team had 11 turnovers, and continues to lead the ACC

in that department with just 11.2 per game. The Cavs have been even

better in conference games with a 9.2 average.

Virginia’s defense will focus on Andre Young, the only Clemson

player to reach double figures in last season’s matchup with 13

points. Young has averaged 24.0 points on 66.7 percent shooting

during consecutive wins for the Tigers.

“We all knew that he was going to be the guy coming into the

season,” coach Brad Brownell said. “There have been some times when

he hasn’t been as consistent as we would like.

“That’s part of the process of being a primary player, of being

asked and expected to make big plays and big shots. The last two

games, he’s been able to do that for us. I think our guys certainly

look for him.”

Young is trying to improve his play on the road, where he’s

shooting 39.2 percent and averaging 12.8 points during Clemson’s

four-game slide in opponents’ arenas.

The Tigers have shot 45.1 percent over their last three contests

overall after failing to make 40 percent in the previous two. They

won 71-60 over Wake Forest on Saturday.

“I think our guys have gotten a little better offensively,”

Brownell said. “I think we’re a little more comfortable.”

The Tigers have also shown improvement in shooting 3-pointers at

43.8 percent over the last two games.

Clemson, however, remains the ACC’s third-worst team in that

category at 33.4 percent while Virginia is one of the best in the

nation in limiting opponents to 26.2 percent on 3s.

The Tigers will also be without a key player Tuesday, as forward

Milton Jennings has been suspended indefinitely by Brownell for

academic reasons. The junior has started 15 games and is averaging

career highs of 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds.