Virginia Battles No. 3 Duke in ACC Showdown

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Taylor Barnette is 9-of-13 from 3-point range in ACC action.

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Taylor Barnette is 9-of-13 from 3-point range in ACC action.
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
 No. 3 Duke at Virginia
 Date & Time Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 | 9 p.m.
 Location Charlottesville, Va. | John Paul Jones Arena
 Coverage ESPN | Listen on Cavaliers Live | Gametracker | ESPN3
 Additional Information 2012-13 Ticket Information | Twitter | Facebook | Game Notes

Feb. 27, 2013

Coach Bennett Pregame Interview

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia battles No. 3 Duke in ACC men's basketball action on Thursday, Feb. 28. Tipoff at John Paul Jones Arena is set for 9 p.m. and the game is sold out.

The Virginia-Duke game will be televised by ESPN and broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. Live audio and stats are available online at VirginiaSports.com.

Virginia (19-8) is tied for third in the ACC with a 9-5 record, while Duke (24-3) is second at 11-3.

The Cavaliers, who have won 15 straight games at JPJ this season, are looking to snap their eight-game losing streak against the Blue Devils. Virginia's last win against Duke was a 68-66 overtime decision on Feb. 1, 2007 at JPJ. The Cavaliers are also aiming for their first win against a top-5 opponent since an 87-84 win over No. 3 Duke on Feb. 28, 2002.

Virginia ended its two-game losing streak with an 82-54 win over Georgia Tech Sunday, while Duke has won two straight games after beating Boston College, 89-68, on Sunday.

The `Hoos are 48-115 all-time against Duke in a series that dates back to 1910-11. Virginia is 33-37 against the Blue Devils in Charlottesville, including a 1-3 mark at JPJ. The Cavaliers are 1-17 in their last 18 games vs. Duke.

Virginia ranks in the top seven nationally in five defensive categories, highlighted by its fourth-ranked scoring defense at 54 points per game. Offensively Virginia has scored 70 or more points in five of its last six games and is averaging 65 points per game, shooting 47 percent from the field and a school-best 40 percent from 3-point land.

Junior guard Joe Harris (Chelan, Wash.) ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring at 16.6 points per game and is the only player in the league to rank in the top 10 in 3-point field goal percentage (1st), field goal percentage (5th) and free throw percentage (8th). Harris has led Virginia in scoring in seven of the last eight games.

Junior forward Akil Mitchell (Charlotte, N.C.) is averaging a career-high 12.6 points per game and ranks third in the ACC with a career-best 8.7 rebounds per game. Senior point guard Jontel Evans (Hampton, Va.) is averaging 5.3 assists per game. Mitchell had a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds in the 28-point win over Georgia Tech, while Evans added 10 points and a game-high eight assists.

Freshman Justin Anderson (Montross, Va.) is averaging 10.2 points per game since being inserted into the starting lineup on Feb. 7 against Clemson. Sophomore Paul Jesperson (Merrill, Wis.) has made at least one 3-pointer in seven consecutive games and is averaging 8.6 ppg in the past five games.

Freshman Evan Nolte (Milton, Ga.) has added 6.7 ppg off the bench, while freshman Mike Tobey (Monroe, N.Y.) returned to action against Georgia Tech after missing five games with mononucleosis. Freshman Taylor Barnette (Lexington, Ky.), who scored nine points on three 3-pointers against Georgia Tech, is 9-of-13 (69.2%) from 3-point range in ACC play.

Head coach Tony Bennett sports a 72-49 record, including a 0-5 mark against Duke, in four seasons at Virginia. Bennett guided the Cavaliers to their first NCAA Tournament since 2006-07 last season.

The Blue Devils are averaging an ACC-leading 77.8 points per game and allowing 67.7 ppg. Duke boasts two of the top three scorers in the ACC in seniors Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry, who played for Virginia associate head coach Ritchie McKay at Liberty in 2008-09. Plumlee ranks second in the ACC in scoring (17.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.7 rpg), while Curry ranks third in scoring at 16.8 ppg. Duke is 9-3 without senior Ryan Kelly (13.4 ppg), who is out indefinitely with an injury.

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski has amassed a 951-294 record in 38 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Krzyzewski is 878-235 in 33 seasons at Duke. He led the Blue Devils to NCAA championships in 1990, 1991, 2001 and 2010.

The Cavaliers travel to Boston College on Sunday, March 1. Tipoff at Conte Forum is set for 4 p.m.