Feb. 18, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia plays at No. 2 Miami in ACC action on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Tipoff at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables is set for 9 p.m.
The game will be televised by ESPNU and broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network.
Virginia (18-7) is third in the ACC with an 8-4 record, while Miami is first at 12-0. The Cavaliers are coming off a 93-81 road loss at North Carolina, while the Hurricanes won at Clemson 45-43 last night for their 13th consecutive victory.
Miami holds a 9-5 advantage against Virginia in the all-time series that dates back to 1965-66. Virginia is 0-5 against Miami in Coral Gables, including a 0-4 mark at BankUnited Center. The Cavaliers defeated the Hurricanes, 52-51, in the only meeting last season.
Virginia is also winless in its last 15 games in the state of Florida. The Cavaliers' last win in the Sunshine State was a 69-66 decision at Florida State on Feb. 17, 2001.
The Cavaliers' three-game winning streak ended at North Carolina, but Virginia has won seven of its last nine games. Virginia ranks in the top six nationally in six defensive categories, highlighted by their second-ranked scoring defense at 54 points per game. Offensively Virginia has scored 70 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time since a six-game span in 2009-10. The Cavaliers are averaging 65 points per game, shooting 47 percent from the field and a school-best 41 percent from 3-point land.
Junior Joe Harris (Chelan, Wash.) is enjoying a breakout season for the Cavaliers. Harris ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring at 16.7 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 (4th) and free throw percentage (8th). Harris is averaging 24 points in the last four games and is the first Cavalier since Roger Mason, Jr. in 2001-02 to score 20 or more points in four consecutive 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 8.8 rebounds per game. Senior point guard Jontel Evans (Hampton, Va.), who had a season-high 12 points at North Carolina, ranks third in the ACC at 5.8 assists per game in 12 league games.
Head coach Tony Bennett sports a 71-48 record, including a 2-3 mark against Miami, in four seasons at Virginia. Bennett guided the Cavaliers to the NCAA Tournament last season.
Miami has a balanced offensive attack, which is led by sophomore point guard Shane Larkin. Senior guard Durand Scott leads the team in scoring with 13.4 points per game, while Larkin is next at 13.2 ppg and senior forward Kenny Kadji is third at 13.0 ppg. Larkin leads the team with 102 assists and Kadji, senior center Reggie Johnson and senior forward Julian Gamble are each averaging over five rebounds per game. The Hurricanes' last loss was a 57-55 overtime loss against Indiana State at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 25, 2012.
Head coach Jim Larranaga, who served as an assistant coach at Virginia under Terry Holland from 1980-86, is in his second season at Miami. Larranaga served as the head coach at George Mason from 1997-2011, leading the Patriots to the 2006 NCAA Final Four.
The Cavaliers host Georgia Tech on Sunday, Feb. 24. Tipoff at John Paul Jones Arena is set for 2 p.m.