No. 3 Virginia looks for spiffier win as Miami visits
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett knew his team didn't play its best after escaping with a one-point overtime victory at No. 23 N.C. State on Tuesday night.
"We'll live and learn," Bennett said. "Fortunate to get out of here."
The No. 3 Cavaliers still managed to record their fifth win over a ranked opponent this season, and things might get easier Saturday when they return home to play struggling Miami.
The Hurricanes (9-11, 1-7 ACC) have lost four straight games and seven of their last eight as they have limped through the first half of the ACC schedule due to several injuries and ineligible players, including their best player, junior big man Dewan Hernandez.
He announced this week he will withdraw from school to prepare for the NBA Draft after the NCAA declared him ineligible for the rest of this season and part of next season.
Miami fell to 0-5 against ranked teams after their 82-70 loss to No. 12 Virginia Tech on Wednesday night, and it will continue a stretch in which it faces four ranked teams in five games when they enter John Paul Jones Arena.
Virginia (19-1, 7-1) is 27-2 in its past 29 conference games but has struggled a bit with the Hurricanes in the past. The Cavaliers are just 6-4 against Miami in Charlottesville, and 10 of the past 11 meetings between the teams have been decided by nine points or less.
Miami has had trouble scoring at times this season, which doesn't bode well against Virginia, which has the country's No. 1 scoring defense (53.2 points per game).
"We're not on the same page offensively," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.
The Hurricanes also must deal with a Virginia team that has shown a better ability to score this season to complement its typically stingy defense.
Junior guard Kyle Guy extended his streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 20 after putting in the go-ahead triple in overtime on Tuesday night against the Wolfpack -- his only 3-point make in five attempts in the game.
"It was a feeling of relief," Guy said after the game about that shot.
"That was a bad game on our part. Coach was rightfully mad after the game and got after us, because we did not play anywhere near our standard. He holds us to a high standard, so we know we didn't play very well."
Guy leads the ACC in 3-pointers made per game (2.9) and is averaging a team-best 14.8 points per game, barely ahead of sophomore De'Andre Hunter (14.7). Hunter scored a team-high 22 points in last season's 59-50 win over the Hurricanes, which marked the Cavaliers' first game as a No. 1 team since 1982.
Miami is led by sophomore guard Chris Lykes, who is averaging 16.8 points per game. Lykes bounced back from an 0-of-12 shooting performance against Florida State to score 19 points against Virginia Tech.
In a matchup of the conference's two shortest players, the 5-foot-7 Lykes will likely be matched up at times against Virginia freshman Kihei Clark, who is listed at 5-9.
"You talk about quick on quick and two of the smaller guys in the league," Bennett said.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 1, 2019