East Carolina-Virginia Preview
Coming off of its first home loss in nearly two years, sixth-ranked Virginia has a quick turnaround when it plays host to East Carolina on Tuesday night.
The Cavaliers fell to No. 25 West Virginia 66-57 on Saturday afternoon and suffered just their third loss at home since the 2013 season. The other two losses came at the hands of Duke and Wisconsin.
The loss to West Virginia ended a 24-game home winning streak and a five-game home winning streak against ranked opponents.
Virginia played its worse game of the young season as they turned the ball over 14 times, allowing the Mountaineers to convert 18 points off of those turnovers. East Carolina enters Tuesday's matchup with a 7-2 record but against opponents that are not to the level of the Cavaliers.
The Pirates do have a solid defense that is allowing just under 60 points per game and should challenge a Virginia offense that has sputtered in their last two games.
The Cavaliers have scored just 120 points combined in their last two, and the Pirates will give them their money's worth on the defensive end and on the glass. East Carolina is averaging 44 rebounds per game, which ranks them in the top 10 in the country in that category.
“Not many words were said. Guys were just upset. Coach Bennett said, 'It's not the end of the season. Learn from this, grow from this.' He didn't think the effort was poor. We just need to fix a few breakdowns, and we'll learn from it and get better,” Virginia freshman guard Ty Jerome said after the Cavaliers' loss to West Virginia.
Jerome played 10 minutes in Virginia's loss on Saturday and helped break the Mountaineers' press in the Cavaliers' four-guard lineup. Despite not scoring, Jerome showed he will continue to see minutes as a freshman with his ability to take care of the basketball.
Guard Darius Thompson had his best game of the season with 14 points and was the only Cavaliers player to score in double figures.
Guard London Perrantes was just 2 of 10 from the field as he struggled against a West Virginia defense that knew it had to key on him. Tuesday's game against East Carolina should give the senior a chance to bounce back and get his shooting on track.
Asked how much he sees his opponents key on him, Perrantes said, “A lot. I feel like I get everybody's best now, with Malcolm 1/8Brogdon 3/8 and Anthony 1/8Gill 3/8 being gone. I just have to get used to it.
“It is early in the season and I'm not used to it, but we have guys that can step up and help me and help the team, so I'm not worried too much about it.”
East Carolina is led by guard Caleb White, who is averaging 15 points per game in 33 minutes played per game this season. White dropped 20 points in the Pirates' 69-57 win over North Carolina Central on Saturday and he will be key for the East Carolina offense against Virginia's packline defense.