Cavaliers Battle Red Storm in NIT Second Round

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Jontel Evans and the Cavaiiers host St. John's on Sunday, March 24.

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Jontel Evans and the Cavaiiers host St. John's on Sunday, March 24.
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
 St. John's at Virginia
 Date & Time Sunday, March 24, 2013 | 11 a.m.
 Location Charlottesville, Va. | John Paul Jones Arena
 Coverage ESPN | Listen on Cavaliers Live | Gametracker
 Additional Information 2012-13 Ticket Information | Twitter | Facebook | Game Notes

March 23, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - No. 1 seed Virginia (22-11) hosts No. 5 seed St. John's (17-15) in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament on Sunday, March 24. Tipoff at John Paul Jones Arena is set for 11 a.m.

The Virginia-St. John's game will be televised on ESPN and broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. Audio and live stats are available on VirginiaSports.com.

The winner will advance to the quarterfinals against Iowa on Wednesday, March 27.

Virginia, who is making its 13th NIT appearance, advanced to the second round with a 67-56 win over Norfolk State Tuesday at JPJ. Freshman Justin Anderson (Montross, Va.) led the Cavaliers with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists. Junior Akil Mitchell (Charlotte, N.C.) added 15 points and 11 rebounds for his 12th double-double. The Cavaliers had a season-high 10 steals, but committed 17 turnovers and shot 22-for-37 (59.5%) from the free throw line.

UVa has won a school-record 19 home games and owns the fourth-longest home winning streak in Division I at 18 games. The Cavaliers will host St. John's in their single-season, school-record 21st home game.

The Cavaliers, who claimed NIT championships in 1980 and 1992, are seeking their sixth NIT quarterfinal appearance and first win (0-7) against St. John's in a series that dates back to 1959. The Cavaliers are meeting the Red Storm for the first time since a 2003 NIT second-round matchup, when St. John's defeated UVa, 73-63, in Jamaica, N.Y.

All-ACC performers Joe Harris (first team), Jontel Evans (All-Defensive) and Mitchell (third team) lead the Cavaliers. Harris ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring at 16.7 ppg and Mitchell ranks third in rebounding at 9.0 rpg. Evans leads Virginia with 117 assists. Anderson leads Virginia rookies in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocked shots.

The Cavaliers, who earned an at-large bid into the NIT, rank in the top 16 nationally in six defensive categories, highlighted by their fourth-ranked scoring defense at 55.2 points per game. Offensively Virginia is averaging 64.1 points per game overall, shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from 3-point land.

Virginia head coach Tony Bennett sports a 75-52 record, including a 1-1 mark in postseason play, 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. Bennett has a 4-4 postseason record as a Division I head coach.

St. John's earned an at-large NIT berth after posting a 16-15 overall record and 8-10 mark in the Big East Conference. The Red Storm advanced to the second round with a 63-61 win at Saint Joseph's on Tuesday.

St. John's is averaging 53 points per game and yielding 66 ppg. Freshman guard D'Angelo Harrison leads the team in scoring at 17.8 points per games, but is suspended for the rest of the season. Big East Rookie of the Year JaKarr Sampson scored 16 points in the win over Saint Joseph's and is averaging 14.9 ppg and a team-leading 6.6 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Sir'Dominic Porter leads the team with 87 assists.

Head coach Steve Lavin has a 40-27 record in three seasons at St. John's. Lavin, who missed most of last season recovering from successful prostate cancer surgery, posted a 145-78 record in seven seasons as head coach at UCLA, guiding the Bruins to six NCAA Tournament appearances.

Reserved tickets for the Virginia-St. John's game are $10 and can be purchased online at VirginiaSports.com/tickets. Tickets may also be purchased on game day at the JPJA box office starting at 9:30 a.m.

Parking will be free of charge and available on a first-come, first-served basis in the John Paul Jones Arena, University Hall and McCue Center parking lots and the Emmet/Ivy Parking Garage. The John Paul Jones Arena Garage will be reserved for permit holders.