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Squad seeks to ground Eagles

No. 19 Cavaliers look to regain footing after stumbling offensively, succumbing to Hokies during narrow loss

Having had four days to recover from Sunday's disappointing 47-45 loss to Virginia Tech, the No. 19 Virginia men's basketball team looks to return to its winning ways tonight against Boston College at John Paul Jones Arena. Should the Cavaliers (15-3, 2-2 ACC) defeat the visiting Eagles (7-12, 2-3 ACC), they would match their win total from the entire 2010-11 season.

Boston College has lost two straight games by double-digit margins, and coach Steve Donahue knows the key to returning to the win column tonight against Virginia starts with containing senior forward Mike Scott. Scott's average of 16.6 points per game makes him both the conference's fifth-highest scorer and, as Donahue said, a threat to opposing teams.

"I think everybody's tried similar things," Donahue said in a teleconference. "You've got to give him a whole lot of attention. You can't let him get easy touches, [and] you've got to think about bringing other guys over."

During Sunday's loss, the Hokies demonstrated a successful recipe for shutting down the preseason All-ACC post player, which at times included triple-team coverage and held Scott to a mediocre 10 points. Scott credited Virginia Tech for its defensive intensity and expressed a desire to try to find greater space in the paint if faced with similar defensive strategies in the future.

"[Virginia Tech] was aggressive," Scott said. "They trapped and triple-teamed me and did a pretty good job."

If the Eagles manage to replicate the Hokies' success against Scott, Virginia coach Tony Bennett expects the rest of the Cavaliers to step up and fill the offensive void. Against Virginia Tech, the Cavaliers shot a mere 32.6 percent from the field and went 1-for-14 from behind the three-point line.

"In the three losses we've played, we've had very cold shooting nights, and that's played a role in it," Bennett said. "We learn from it and hopefully come out more efficient offensively and continue to battle defensively like we need to."

While Virginia has struggled offensively in recent games, the Eagles, who rank last in scoring offense in the ACC, haven't found an offensive rhythm all season.

Donahue said his team has yet to find a stable offensive identity - a possible pitfall for a squad which sports a 1-6 road record.

"I don't know if we're at a point where we can figure out how to take advantage of different situations," Donahue said. "We're still trying to get to know ourselves, and we've got to do what we do well."\nSophomore guard Joe Harris hopes that in re-establishing their own offensive success, the Cavaliers can right the ship tonight.

"Obviously you never want to lose any game, but then losing the rivalry game, it's tough," Harris said. "But we're going to bounce back and still shoot the ball with confidence."

Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m.


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