Dec. 21, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia battles Old Dominion in men's college basketball action during the Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic on Saturday, Dec. 22 in Richmond, Va. Tipoff at the Richmond Coliseum is set for 5:30 p.m.
The game will be broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network and televised on the NBC Sports Network.
George Mason plays Richmond in the first game of the Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic at 3 p.m.
The Cavaliers are looking for their ninth consecutive victory and are 13-1 over the last 14 seasons in the last game prior to Christmas Day.
Virginia ranks third in the nation in scoring defense at 50.6 points per game and has held nine opponents under 60 points this season. The Cavaliers are averaging 64.3 points per game and have topped the 60-point mark seven times.
Virginia is 9-4 all-time against Old Dominion in the series that dates back to 1976-77. The Cavaliers have a three-game winning streak against the Monarchs, including an 80-76 win in the last meeting on March 24, 2008, in the College Basketball Invitational.
The Cavaliers are also aiming for their first win against a Colonial Athletic Association opponent this season after suffering losses against George Mason (63-59) and Delaware (59-53) in November.
Virginia (9-2) used 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists from junior forward Akil Mitchell (Charlotte, N.C.) in its 75-57 win over Morgan State on Dec. 19. Sophomore forward Darion Atkins (Clinton, Md.) led the Cavaliers with a career-high 19 points and sophomore guard Paul Jesperson(Merrill, Wis.) added a career-best 11 points.
Junior guard Joe Harris (Chelan, Wash.) and Mitchell continue to lead the Cavaliers in the absence of senior point guard Jontel Evans(Hampton, Va.), who will miss his eighth game with a foot injury.
Harris ranks eighth in the ACC in scoring at 14.7 points per game and second in three-point field goal accuracy at 44.9 percent.
Mitchell is averaging career highs in scoring (13.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.5 rpg), and has five double-doubles. Mitchell also ranks fifth in the ACC in rebounding and ninth in field goal accuracy at 52.9 percent.
Atkins has added 9.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and ranks sixth in the ACC in blocked shots at 1.7 per game.
Redshirt freshman Teven Jones (Kannapolis, N.C.) is expected to start his seventh game at point guard, while guard Justin Anderson(Montross, Va.) leads Virginia freshmen in scoring at 6.3 points per game off the bench.
Cavalier head coach Tony Bennettsports a 62-43 record, including a 41-16 nonconference mark, in four seasons at UVa. Bennett guided the Cavaliers to the 2012 NCAA Tournament as UVa finished 22-10.
Old Dominion is looking to snap a nine-game losing streak. The Monarchs defeated Morgan State, 72-61, back on Nov. 10 for their lone win. Old Dominion dropped a 76-65 decision to College of Charleston in its last action on Dec. 18.
The Monarchs are averaging 64.2 points per game and allowing 72.1 ppg. Senior forward DeShawn Painter leads the team in scoring (10.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.4 rpg). Junior guard Donte Hill is averaging 10.2 points per game, while freshman guard Keenan Palmore has added 8.5 ppg.
Head coach Blaine Taylor has a 237-124 mark in 11 seasons at Old Dominion. Taylor has also led the Monarchs to seven 20-win seasons and NCAA Tournament berths in 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2011.