March 9, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia men's basketball team hosts ACC and border rival Maryland in its final regular season home game on Sunday, March 10. Tipoff at John Paul Jones Arena is set for 6 p.m.
The Virginia-Maryland game will be televised by ESPNU and broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. Live audio and stats are available online at VirginiaSports.com.
Virginia (20-10) is fifth in the ACC with a 10-7 record, while Maryland (20-10) is tied for sixth with North Carolina State at 8-9. Thanks to NC State's loss Saturday at Florida State, the Cavaliers can clinch the No. 4 seed and a first round bye in the ACC Tournament with a win over Maryland.
The Cavaliers have won 16 consecutive home games and their 17 home wins are a school record. Virginia has lost two straight road games (53-52 at Boston College and 53-51 at Florida State) since beating No. 3 Duke at JPJ and is looking to avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season.
Maryland returns to action after suffering a 79-68 home loss against North Carolina. The Terrapins are 3-4 in their last seven games and are 4-7 away from Comcast Center.
Virginia and Maryland are meeting for the second time this season. The Cavaliers defeated Maryland, 80-69, at Comcast Center on Feb. 10 for their third straight win against the Terrapins in College Park. Junior Joe Harris (Chelan, Wash.) scored 22 points and freshman Justin Anderson (Montross, Va.) added a career-best 17 points. Junior Akil Mitchell (Charlotte, N.C.) added 13 points and sophomore Paul Jesperson (Merrill, Wis.) had a career-high 12 points on four 3-pointers. The Cavaliers became the first team to outrebound Maryland this season, enjoying a 34-29 rebound margin.
Maryland holds a 106-72 advantage against Virginia in a series that dates back to the 1912-13 season. Virginia is 44-41 against the Terrapins in Charlottesville, including a 4-2 mark at JPJ. The Cavaliers have won four consecutive games against Maryland and a win would give the Cavaliers their first five-game winning streak against the Terrapins since Jan. 29, 1992-Feb. 2, 1994.
Virginia ranks in the top six nationally in four defensive categories, highlighted by its fourth-ranked scoring defense at 54.4 points per game. Offensively Virginia has been held to 52 points or less in the last two games, but is averaging 64.4 points per game overall, shooting 46.2 percent from the field and a school-best 39.5 percent from 3-point land.
Harris ranks second in the ACC in scoring at 17.1 points per game and is the only player in the league to rank in the top 10 in 3-point field goal percentage (2nd), free throw percentage (7th) and field goal percentage (8th). Harris has led Virginia in scoring in eight of the last 11 games and has scored 20 or more points nine times this season.
Mitchell, who has led Virginia in scoring in each of the last two games, is averaging a career-high 13 points per game and ranks third in the ACC with a career-best 8.9 rebounds per game. Mitchell leads the league in field goal accuracy in 17 ACC games at 56.1 percent. Senior point guard Jontel Evans (Hampton, Va.) ranks second in the ACC at 5.5 assists per game in league play.
Anderson leads Virginia rookies in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocked shots. Jesperson has made at least one 3-pointer in 10 consecutive games.
Freshman Mike Tobey (Monroe, N.Y.) had 12 points and seven rebounds at Florida State and Taylor Barnette (Lexington, Ky.) has made 10-of-15 (66.7%) shots from beyond the arc in ACC play.
Head coach Tony Bennett sports a 73-51 record, including a 4-3 mark against Maryland, in four seasons at Virginia. Bennett, who guided the Cavaliers to their first NCAA Tournament since 2006-07 last season, is the first Virginia coach to post back-to-back 20-win seasons since Jeff Jones in 1991-92 and 1992-93.
Maryland ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring at 71 points per game and fifth in scoring defense at 63.6 ppg. The Terrapins lead the ACC in field goal percentage defense (38%) and are third in field goal percentage (46.8%). Guard/forward Dez Wells leads the team in scoring at 12.2 points per game, while center Alex Len has added 11.9 ppg and a team-leading 8.1 rebounds per game. Guard Nick Faust has chipped in 8.7 ppg and guard Seth Allen has added 7.4 ppg. Guard Pe'Shon Howard ranks seventh in the ACC with 3.8 assists per game.
Mark Turgeon has posted a 37-25 mark in two seasons at Maryland. Turgeon has a 287-184 record in 15 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
Single-game tickets for Virginia's game against Maryland are available and can be purchased online at VirginiaSports.com/tickets. Tickets may also be purchased on game day at the JPJA box office starting at 4:30 p.m.
The Cavaliers will participate in the 60th annual ACC Tournament, which starts Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.