March 6, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia men's basketball team plays its final regular season road game in ACC action at Florida State on Thursday, March 9. Tipoff at Donald L. Tucker Center is set for 7 p.m.
The Virginia-Florida State game will be televised by ESPN2 and broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. Live audio and stats are available online at VirginiaSports.com.
Virginia (20-9) is tied for fourth in the ACC with a 10-6 record, while Florida State (15-14) is seventh at 7-9.
The Cavaliers are 3-8 away from John Paul Jones Arena and are looking for their fourth true road win of the season. Virginia suffered a 53-52 loss at Boston College on Sunday after defeating No. 3 Duke, 73-68, last Thursday in Charlottesville.
The Seminoles have lost three of their last four games, including a 79-58 decision at North Carolina on Sunday. Florida State is 8-7 overall and 4-3 in ACC play at the Tucker Center this season.
Virginia ended a seven-game losing streak against Florida State with a 56-36 win on Jan. 19 in Charlottesville, tying a school record for least points allowed to an ACC opponent. Junior Joe Harris (Chelan, Wash.) led the Cavaliers with 17 points and four steals and junior Akil Mitchell (Charlotte, N.C.) added 13 points. Freshman Evan Nolte (Milton, Ga.) started in place of injured sophomore Darion Atkins (Clinton, Md.) and led the team with a career-high seven rebounds. Senior guard Michael Snaer led the Seminoles with nine points.
Florida State holds a 21-18 advantage against Virginia in a series that dates back to the 1991-92 season. The Cavaliers are 6-13 against Florida State in Tallahassee. A Virginia win would end its nine-game losing streak at Florida State and 16-game losing streak 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.
Virginia ranks in the top seven nationally in five defensive categories, highlighted by its fourth-ranked scoring defense at 54.4 points per game. Offensively Virginia has scored 70 or more points in six of its last eight games and is averaging 64.9 points per game, shooting 46.5 percent from the field and a school-best 40.3 percent from 3-point land.
Harris ranks second in the ACC in scoring at 17.3 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 (7th) and free throw percentage (9th). Harris has led Virginia in scoring in eight of the last 10 games and has scored 20 or more points nine times this season.
Mitchell is averaging a career-high 12.9 points per game and ranks third in the ACC with a career-best 8.8 rebounds per game. Mitchell leads the league in field goal accuracy in 16 ACC games at 55.9 percent. Senior point guard Jontel Evans (Hampton, Va.) ranks second in the ACC at 5.7 assists per game in league play.
Freshman Justin Anderson (Montross, Va.) leads Virginia rookies in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocked shots. Sophomore Paul Jesperson (Merrill, Wis.) has made at least one 3-pointer in nine consecutive games and is averaging 8.1 points per game in the last seven games.
Nolte has added 6.4 ppg off the bench, while freshman Mike Tobey (Monroe, N.Y.) has played the past three games after missing the previous five games with mononucleosis. Freshman Taylor Barnette (Lexington, Ky.) has made 10-of-14 (71.4%) shots from beyond the arc in ACC play.
Head coach Tony Bennett sports a 73-50 record, including a 1-4 mark against Boston College, 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.
The Seminoles average 62.1 points per game and allow 69.3 ppg. Snaer leads the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game, while junior forward Okaro White is averaging 11.9 ppg and a team-leading 5.9 rebounds per game. Head coach Leonard Hamilton sports a 216-141 record in 11 seasons at Florida State and 416-351 career mark in 25 seasons.
The Cavaliers host Maryland in their regular-season finale on Sunday, March 10. Tipoff at JPJ is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPNU.