Jan. 23, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia men's basketball team hits the road for an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown at in-state rival Virginia Tech on Thursday, Jan. 24. Tipoff at Cassell Coliseum is set for 8 p.m.
The game will be televised by the ACC Network and broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network.
The Cavaliers (12-5, 2-2 ACC) seek their third consecutive win at Virginia Tech and are coming off an impressive 56-36 win against Florida State on Jan. 19.
Virginia is 82-52 all-time against Virginia Tech in a series that dates back to the 1914-15 season. Virginia Tech holds a 28-17 series lead in Blacksburg, including a 14-4 mark at Cassell Coliseum. The Cavaliers are 3-2 in their last five games against the Hokies and 4-6 in their last 10. Virginia went 1-1 against Virginia Tech last season and nine of the last 10 games in the series have been decided by seven points or less.
The Cavaliers continue to lean on their stellar defense. Virginia ranks in the top six nationally in six defensive categories, highlighted by its second-ranked scoring defense of 50.6 points per game. The Cavaliers have held their last five opponents under 60 points. Virginia has also held three ACC opponents without a fast break point (Wake Forest, Clemson and Florida State).
Offensively Virginia is averaging 62.1 points per game, shooting 45 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point land. Junior Joe Harris, who has led UVa in scoring in 11 games, is averaging a career-high 15.2 points per game. Junior Akil Mitchellis averaging career highs in scoring (12.3 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg) and is shooting 54.4 percent from the field. Harris ranks second in the ACC in three-point field goal accuracy at 46.3 percent, while Mitchell ranks fourth in rebounding.
Senior point guard Jontel Evans(Hampton, Va.) handed out seven assists against Florida State and leads Virginia with 3.7 assists per game. Evans has played in all four ACC games after missing nine of the first 13 games with a foot injury.
Forward Evan Nolte (Milton, Ga.) leads Virginia freshmen in scoring at 6.4 points per game, while forward/center Mike Tobey (Monroe, N.Y.) has added 6.1 ppg. Nolte grabbed a career-high seven rebounds against the Seminoles in place of injured starter Darion Atkins(Clinton, Md.), while Tobey has led the Cavaliers in scoring in three games, including a 14-point effort at Wake Forest.
Cavalier head coach Tony Bennettsports a 65-46 record, including a 3-3 mark against Virginia Tech. Bennett guided the Cavaliers to the 2012 NCAA Tournament as UVa finished 22-10.
Virginia Tech (11-6, 2-2 ACC) is coming off a 66-65 home win over Wake Forest on Jan. 19, and brings a two-game winning streak into Thursday night's game. The Hokies are averaging 75.5 points per game and allowing 74.1 ppg.
The Hokies are led by senior guard Erick Green, who leads the nation in scoring at 22.6 points per game. Green has scored 20 or more points in 16-of-17 games this season, including a season-high 31 against Bradley.
Senior forward Jerell Eddie is averaging 14.5 points per game and sophomore guard Robert Brown has added 10.2 ppg. Junior forward Cadarian Raines leads the team in rebounding (117) and blocked shots (19).
James Johnson is in his first year as head coach at Virginia Tech. Johnson spent five seasons on the Virginia Tech men's basketball staff prior to accepting the head coaching position.
The Cavaliers return home for an ACC game against Boston College on Saturday, Jan. 26. Tipoff at John Paul Jones Arena is slated for 1 p.m.