No. 20 Virginia looks to stay unbeaten vs. Virginia
For the third time in four seasons, No. 18 Virginia is 7-0 to start the season as they enter the month of December.
The Cavaliers capped off November with a hard-fought 49-37 win over Wisconsin on Monday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge which followed an NIT Season Tip-Off title that Virginia captured over Thanksgiving.
“I think we’re still in the midst of trying to forge our identity as a team,” senior guard Devon Hall said. “It’s early in the season, so we’re trying to make sure everybody is on the same page in terms of knowing what type of team we are.”
Hall scored 16 points in the Cavaliers’ win over the Badgers and is averaging just shy of 12 points per game this season.
Virginia now shifts its attention to the Lehigh Mountain Hawks who come to Charlottesville and John Paul Jones Arena on Saturday. The Cavaliers are 81-9 on their home floor the past six seasons and will look to knock off a Lehigh team that has a 4-3 record early in the season.
The Mountain Hawks are coming off of an 85-76 road win over Princeton on Wednesday night, and will face their second ranked opponent of the season away from home after falling to USC 88-63 on November 23rd.
Lehigh is averaging just under 80 points per game this season and will face a Virginia squad that is surrendering just 50 points per game, which ranks first in the country. The Cavaliers have held four opponents to less than 50 points in their seven games and once again are doing it with defense under head coach Tony Bennett.
Lehigh boasts three players averaging at least 10 points per game led by junior guard Lance Tejada who is scoring 15.6 points per game. Tejada put in 18 points against Princeton and head coach Brett Reed saw flashes of leadership from his team against the Tigers.
“I thought there was a critical play where Tejada didn’t get a foul call and he was a little bit down and a little bit frustrated, but one of his teammates went over and picked him up. He said let’s go, we’ve got this and Lance turns around and drills a three,” Reed said.
“Unless a team has that type of support and backing of each other, I don’t know if you get through some of those challenging circumstances and situations. Right now, for Lehigh Basketball, it’s not one guy; it’s a variety of different guys who are able to step up, which is promising.”
Sophomore Kyle Guy has been the scoring leader for the Cavaliers this season as he enters Saturday’s game averaging 16 points per game. Guy has taken a step forward from a freshman season that saw him average 7.5 points.
“(Guy is) deceptively athletic and creative,” Bennett said, “and I think the strength that he added has helped him absorb a few more forearms when he’s driving, or bumps at the rim. So that’s important. Again, when your shot’s not on and you can score in other ways, that’s the completeness you look for.”
Virginia and Lehigh tip at noon on Saturday.