Virginia Insider: Keep momentum

Virginia Insider: Keep momentum

Published Jan. 19, 2012 1:08 p.m. ET

Having beaten Miami and lost to Duke in its first two ACC games, Virginia was right where the Cavaliers were expected to be at that point early in the conference schedule.

The trick for coach Tony Bennett's team was to not waste some of the momentum gained by the strong performance against the Blue Devils, as the Cavs prepared for the upcoming trip to Georgia Tech.

After visiting the Yellow Jackets, Virginia will be at home for its next two games, hosting Virginia Tech and Boston College. Then the Cavaliers will go to North Carolina State, before returning home again against Clemson to finish the first month of conference play.

Not one of those teams was considered a contender to finish in the top half of the standings.

Virginia, however, showed it was ready to step into the top four with its play against Duke. The Cavaliers were within a three-point field goal of sending the game to overtime, and had two chances to do so in the closing seconds.

But neither Mike Scott nor Jontel Evans could do so.

"Last year, we got in a similar spot and there was a run when the crowd got into it, and we struggled," Bennett said, looking back to his team's 16-point loss at Duke in 2010-11. "I don't want to say we collapsed, but we struggled. They just started separating.

"Tonight, it could have been the same situation, and I thought they got a little tougher and stingier defensively. That got us back on track.

"Then we made some tough baskets. That was why we at least had a chance at the end to send it to overtime."


--Senior F Mike Scott moved into 29th place among Virginia's all-time scorers with 1,233 points entering the week. He should take a pretty big jump on that list over the next few games.

Just ahead of him was No. 28 Billy Langloh (1,240), No. 27 Tom Sheehey (1,241), No. 26 Marc Iavaroni (1,244), No. 25, Tony LaQuintano (1,263), and No. 24 Cory Alexander (1,296).

Virginia's all-time leading scorer is Bryant Stith with 2,516 points.

Scott has 822 rebounds in his career, No. 5 all-time for Virginia. No. 4 is Stith (859).

--The loss at Duke snapped Virginia's winning streak at 12 games and dropped the Cavaliers to 14-2 on the season. The Cavaliers have lost eight in a row to the Blue Devils and 15 straight in the series at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

--Virginia entered its game at Georgia Tech with a four-game winning streak over the Yellow Jackets. The Cavaliers had won six of the last eight meetings, including three straight in Atlanta during that span.

BY THE NUMBERS: 51.1 -- The Cavaliers held their first 16 opponents to an average of just 51.1 points a game. If that pace held up, it would be the best defensive mark since they held opponents to 36.1 points a game in the 1945-46 season.


--at Georgia Tech, Jan. 19

KEY MATCHUPS: Tech has struggled for most of the year but showed some signs of life with an 11-point win over North Carolina State on the road in its second ACC game after giving Duke fits in its ACC opener. F Kammeon Holsey and C Daniel Miller have given the Jackets some physical play inside, and G Glen Rice can score from anywhere on the court.

--vs. Virginia Tech, Jan. 22

KEY MATCHUPS: The struggling Hokies entered the week still trying to find their way. The Hokies have defended the perimeter well, and G Erick Green has stepped into the scoring role that Malcolm Delaney carried in recent seasons. Newcomer Dorian Finney-Smith (6-8, 192) isn't the physical presence Jeff Allen was for the Hokies but is one of the league's top rebounders.

FUTURES MARKET: November signee Teven Jones, a 6-0 guard from Kannapolis, N.C., will enroll for the second semester and begin practices with the Cavaliers. He will not play in any games this season but will have four years of eligibility beginning in 2012-13.

"By enrolling at this time, Teven will have the opportunity to get established academically and in our basketball program," coach Tony Bennett said of Jones, who averaged 22 points and seven assists his senior year in high school. "His addition will also help us from a practice standpoint."


"He draws a lot of attention, certainly." -- Coach Tony Bennett, on senior F Mike Scott, who scored 46 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in Virginia's first two ACC outings.