Charlottesville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - The second-ranked Virginia Cavaliers continue their run towards perfection, as they play host to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in an ACC matchup at John Paul Jones Arena on Thursday evening.
Tony Bennett's Cavaliers are one of just two unbeaten teams left in the nation, with top-ranked Kentucky being the other. Virginia is 17-0 on the season, its best start since the 1980-81 team led by Ralph Sampson (23-0). The Cavaliers are already 5-0 in ACC play and kept their record unblemished with last weekend's 66-51 road win at Boston College.
Brian Gregory's Yellow Jackets have had an up and down season, indicated by the team's 9-8 overall record. League play however, has been an act of futility to this point, as the team is still seeking its first ACC win of the season. The Yellow Jackets enter this contest with a five-game losing streak in tow, all in-conference, including Saturday's 70-65 road loss at Pittsburgh.
Georgia Tech holds a narrow 39-36 lead in the series with Virginia, but the Cavaliers have closed the gap with wins in seven of the last eight meetings.
The Yellow Jackets had their chances on the road against Pittsburgh, but the Panthers held Tech scoreless for over five minutes down the stretch to earn the five-point victory. Despite shooting just .396 from the floor overall, Georgia Tech did place four players in double digits, led by Robert Sampson's 16 points off the bench. Marcus Georges-Hunt added 13 points and Charles Mitchell and Quinton Stephens finished with 10 points apiece in defeat.
It has been tough going at the offensive end for Georgia Tech this season, as the team enters this game averaging just 65.6 ppg on a rather bland .417 shooting. The good news is that the team has played much better defensively, holding foes to just 63.9 ppg and maintaining a strong +9.3 rebounding margin. Georges-Hunt is shooting .383 from the floor overall, but still leads the team in scoring at 12.9 ppg. Mitchell (.533) and Demarco Cox (.545) are much more efficient, adding 10.5 and 9.3 ppg, respectively.
If Georgia Tech thought offense was hard to come by before, the Yellow Jackets are in real trouble in this contest. There are few teams in the nation that play better at that end of the floor than Virginia. The Cavaliers are giving up just 50.6 ppg (second nationally), while allowing foes to shoot just .341 overall (third nationally). The team also boasts a +11.2 rebounding margin (third nationally). At the offensive end, the Cavaliers are led by a trio of double-digit scoring averages. Justin Anderson is tops on the team at 14.5 ppg. Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill round out the set with 13.6 and 11.7 ppg, respectively. Gill is first in rebounding, grabbing just under seven boards per contest (6.8).
Boston College found a way to hang around for most of the game last weekend, but the Cavaliers put it in another gear down the stretch to distance themselves for the win and preserve their perfect record. Brogdon led all scorers with 20 points. Gill posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, but Anderson finished 0-of-8 from the floor and scored all of his eight points at the free-throw line.