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No. 2 men’s basketball meets with Louisville in ACC Rivalry

Cavaliers look to remain unbeaten in conference play

<p>Virginia sophomore guard Kyle Guy had 17 points in the Cavaliers' win over Duke.</p>

Virginia sophomore guard Kyle Guy had 17 points in the Cavaliers' win over Duke.

After picking up a thrilling 65-63 win over No. 4 Duke in the hostile environment of Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, the No. 2 Virginia men’s basketball team is back at home to host Louisville Wednesday night. 

“That is quite an environment,” Coach Tony Bennett said of Cameron Indoor Stadium. “Those students get going pretty crazy. They’re roaring from when you walk in the building.”

However, the enthusiastic crowd was unable to prevent Virginia (20-1, 9-0 ACC) from getting its first win at Duke (19-3, 7-3 ACC) since 1995.

Virginia sophomore guard Kyle Guy had 17 points in the game, while senior guard Devon Hall and sophomore guard Ty Jerome had 14 and 13 points, respectively. Hall’s double-digit scoring marked the eighth-straight game he has reached double figures. Meanwhile, Jerome and Guy showed maturity and composure down the stretch, with Jerome hitting a huge three-pointer with 37.6 seconds to play and Guy converting two free-throws with 6.1 seconds remaining. 

“They find ways,” Bennett said. “They’re a team that’s a joy to coach because they’re pretty clear on who they are, and it doesn’t matter who’s getting the shots or whose doing what, so I hope that will remain.” 

Virginia held Duke to 48.2 percent shooting, making Duke the 21st opponent that the team has held to under 50 percent shooting. The Cavaliers also forced Duke to 16 turnovers, compared to committing only five themselves. 

“I keep saying, they’re very clear of who they are as a team,” Bennett said. “I always talk about humility. That’s our first pillar. Just knowing who you are as a team. I like the way they’re doing that and picking each other up.” 

Although the win against Duke was significant and exciting, the Cavaliers aren’t letting it distract them from the challenges ahead.  

“Sure — everybody is excited about a big win,” Bennett said. “But you just keep working.”

Now, Virginia will try to extend its 12-game winning streak in its matchup against the Cardinals (16-5, 6-2 ACC) Wednesday night. 

Louisville, who sits in second place in the ACC standings, comes to John Paul Jones Arena after defeating Wake Forest 96-77.  In the convincing win for the Cardinals, four different players had at least 13 points. 

Louisville junior forward Deng Adel has emerged as the leading scorer for the Cardinals this season, averaging 15.6 points. Senior guard Quentin Snider and junior forward Ray Spalding are also keys to the Cardinals’ offense, averaging 13.1 and 11 points, respectively. Snider had 15 points in the win against Wake Forest (8-13, 1-8 ACC) after shooting 5-7 on the night. 

Louisville’s only two conference losses were both road games that went into overtime, including a three-point loss to Miami and a 74-69 loss to Clemson, who the Cavaliers beat with a crushing score of 61-36. 

“[The Cardinals] have great rim protection, because they’re so long and mobile,” Bennett said. “They’re not just long and big shot blockers, but they’re very mobile… they’re playing at a high level, and can really defend.”

In addition to the challenges of facing a tough and skilled Louisville squad, the Cavaliers face the potential troubles of injuries and illness afflicting the team. 

“[Redshirt freshman guard De’Andre Hunter] will be day-to-day — we’ll see how that goes,” Bennett said. “A couple guys have some flu symptoms, so hopefully we’ll get them healthy and ready to go.”

If the Cavaliers can get healthy and pick up a win, it would make for their fifth-straight win over the Cardinals. 

Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday. After the game, the Cavaliers will hit the road again for a Saturday matchup against Syracuse.