No. 4 men’s basketball takes on No. 24 Maryland in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Cavaliers and Terrapins square off in competition between conferences

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De'Andre Hunter, the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament’s MVP, led the Cavaliers with 20 points against Wisconsin on Nov. 23, making him a double-digit scorer in every game of the season.

Christina Anton | Cavalier Daily

The No. 4 Virginia men’s basketball team is gearing up for its ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup against No. 24 Maryland Wednesday night. The challenge pits two of college basketball’s best conferences against each other, tallying the wins each conference racks up in the 14 games played. The Cavaliers (6-0) have not lost their individual game in the challenge since 2013. 

Virginia enters the game after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. While in the Bahamas, the Cavaliers beat Middle Tennessee, Dayton and Wisconsin to claim the trophy. Sophomore forward De’Andre Hunter and junior guard Ty Jerome were named to the All-Tournament team, with Hunter earning the Tournament MVP honors. 

Hunter averaged 19.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in Virginia’s three games of the tournament, and based on that performance, the conference named him the ACC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week. On the season, he’s averaging 16.8 points, which is a team high. Jerome is behind him with an average of 14 points a game, having scored in double-figures for five of the six games this season.

Junior guard Kyle Guy has also has had some big performances, with 20 points against George Washington, 15 points against Middle Tennessee and 14 points against Dayton. 

As a team, Virginia has been putting up an average of 73.2 points a game, while holding their opponents to an average of 49.3 points. The Cavaliers have been making 48.5 percent of their field goal attempts and 40 percent of their shots from three. On the foul line, they are hitting 71 percent of their opportunities. Virginia’s opponents have greatly struggled on three-point shooting, making only 27.7 percent of attempts from behind the arc. 

The Cavaliers could have more work cut out for them against the Terrapins, who in their last game against Marshall, shot 56.3 percent from three. Maryland’s success largely came from freshman guard Eric Ayala, who was sensational as he hit five-of-six from three and finished with 20 points. Junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. also came up big in the 104-67 win, scoring 26 points. Cowan has been leading the way for the Terrapins this season, averaging 16.8 points. Sophomore forward Bruno Fernando isn’t far behind with 16.2 points a game. Maryland’s roster also has three other players with a double-figure scoring average. 

The numerous offensive threats for the Terrapins come together to post an average of 84.8 points a game. However, they also commit an average of 13.7 turnovers a game, compared to Virginia’s eight. 

The last time these two programs faced off was in 2014 for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge that year, where Virginia picked up a 76-65 win.  

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. from College Park, Md. Virginia will then return to Charlottesville for its next game against Morgan State on Dec. 3. 

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