Virginia Routs Virginia Tech 73-55
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Joe Harris scored a career-high 26 points and Virginia held national scoring leader Erick Green without a field goal into the second half and swept the season series with Virginia Tech, 73-55, Tuesday night.
Harris matched his career high with five 3-pointers, all in the first half, and Akil Mitchell added 17 points for the Cavaliers (18-6, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their third game in a row.
Green, who came in averaging 25.3 points, missed his first nine field goal tries and had just one point at halftime as the Hokies (11-13, 2-9) lost their seventh in a row. He made his first field goal, a 3-pointer, with 16:26 to play and finished with 22 points, but on just 4-for-17 shooting.
He scored 35 points in the teams' first meeting, a 74-58 Virginia victory on Jan. 24.
From UVa athletics:
Virginia Team Notes
Virginia (18-6) is 8-3 in the ACC for the first time since 2006-07
The 18-point victory was Virginia's largest in the series since an 86-61 win (25 pts) on Jan. 23, 1991
Virginia has won three straight in the series against the Hokies
The Cavaliers swept the season series for the third time in eight years that Virginia Tech has been in the ACC (The Hokies have only swept the season series once in that time)
Virginia improved to 33-2 under Tony Bennett when scoring at least 70 points
The Cavaliers have scored at least 70 points in three straight games for the first time since a six-game span in 2009-10
Virginia extended its home-winning streak to 14 games, the longest in JPJA history and the longest home winning streak by the Cavaliers since a 14-game streak from Jan. 2001 to Dec. 2001
Joe Harris (26 pts) scored in double figures for the 21st time this season
Harris had his seventh 20-point game of the season (eighth of his career)
Harris is the first Cavalier to have three consecutive 20-point games since Sylven Landesberg in 2009-10 (20 vs. UTPA, 23 at NC State and 22 vs. Georgia Tech)
Joe Harris' 17 first half points are the most first half points by a Cavalier since Mustapha Farrakhan had 18 first half points vs. Howard on Jan. 4, 2011 (Farrakhan, like Harris tonight, was 5-5 in 1st half from 3-point range)
Akil Mitchell scored an ACC career-high 17 points
Mitchell scored in double figures for the 19th time this season
Jontel Evans tied a season high with eight points
Player Career Highs
Joe Harris scored a career-high 26 points
Harris tied a career high with five 3-pointers
Jontel Evans (tied) a career high with seven rebounds
Career Records Watch
Joe Harris (1,076 pts) moved into 40th place on Virginia's all-time scoring list, passing Gene Engel (1,071, 1961-63)
Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett
On Joe Harris' game:
"I thought it was impressive. It makes me look like a good coach when he comes out and plays like that. He had great rhythm. He was hunting the shot, moving hard off the screens. I thought he got us off to the right start.
On the game:
"We played hard, but defensively, we were out of position, a little late on some rotations and gave them good looks. We took a couple ill-advised shots. Joe's (Harris) start at least kept us in the game, because they hit some shots. Then we settled in a little bit better, and defended and moved the ball. That was very impressive the way he was moving and shooting. I love seeing that."
On defending Erick Green:
"It was pretty solid team defense on him, and Jontel (Evans) was very strong and quick. Green got a couple open looks that he didn't hit, but there weren't a lot of them. You could see in the second half how he decided, 'alright, I'm going to try to draw fouls and get to the lane and score that way.' He got a couple rhythm looks. But, Jontel was locked in and really worked against him, and that's what you have to do. The other guys were certainly aware of him."
On Harris' efficiency shooting threes:
"His footwork is good. You always start with that. He's getting his set-up quicker and quicker. He was in rhythm and he's got a nice compact shot. He can leave the floor, so he can get it off with his size. He's really moving well. Guys are looking for him, kind of hitting him in stride when he's open. It looks good. Like I said, the rotation's good, the arc's good, all that stuff. He shot it well certainly for the last few games. He has the ability to really move without the ball, but he's added the threat of if you come up tight, he can get by you."
On scoring more than 70 points in each of the past three games:
"Obviously we're shooting the ball well. You can see that from three. [We're] sharing the ball. It's an unselfish group. Joe being efficient like he is, you look at his last two stat games, and from an efficiency standpoint, it's terrific. I thought Akil (Mitchell) was all over the glass, and did some really good things. We had eight fast break points, and some points off turnovers, which helped us. There's a nice blend of offense going on besides Joe just shooting threes."
Virginia Tech Head Coach James Johnson
On the game:
"Virginia played an excellent game tonight. We didn't play well at all, but they had a lot to do with that. Gotta give them a lot of credit for what they did to us tonight. They are a very good basketball team - great on defense, good on offense. Their offense is very, very good right now."
On Joe Harris:
"We hoped to slow him down a bit, but he came out of the gates blazing. Before we could make the switch and get someone else on him, he already had nine points on three three-pointers right in our mouth."
On Erick Green:
"I think he was trying to get the other guys involved a little bit. We don't have time for other guys to get involved because then Erick starts standing around and we need Erick to be the aggressor right now."
Virginia Junior Forward Akil Mitchell
"When Joe (Harris) gets on fire, he is on fire. He came out guns loaded this game. He has been working on his shot everyday."
On NCAA Tournament eligibility:
"We don't pay attention to that stuff at all. We knew after the Georgia Tech game that we would have to put a run together if we wanted to have a chance. Since then we haven't really talked about it. We knew that we could do it, and it is just the matter of taking one game at a time and playing each game like it's our last."
On North Carolina game Saturday:
"We need to do the same thing we've been doing. We need to take that intensity on the road. We struggle on the road, so we need to make sure we keep moving the ball and set our defense. We need to bring that extra intensity and that extra energy. It is tougher to beat a team twice."
Virginia Sophomore Guard Paul Jesperson
On the game:
"Tonight we were really comfortable in the offense. We rely on our defense, but I think offensively guys have been sharing the ball more and I think that has a lot to do with our attitude."
On the season:
"Everyone is trying to keep a level head and stay humble. Coach is always reminding us to stay humble. I think we need to go out there and play every game like we're 0-0. I think we're a pretty tough team to beat and that we're playing good basketball."
Virginia Senior Guard Jontel Evans
On defending Erick Green:
"I was really locked in. I told my teammates that I was going to waste all my energy on defense tonight. I wanted to show people that I'm still a good defender and what better chance is there than to go against one of the best players in the country? I think that I showed it today."
On Joe Harris:
"Joe is the best shooter on the team. I've seen Joe shoot the ball and be aggressive, but I've never seen him be aggressive like he was tonight. It was just in his eyes. You could see his killer mindset and that he wanted to get the team going on offense. That's what he did. Getting those first three three's just got us off on a great start."
Virginia Junior Guard Joe Harris
On his performance tonight:
"The first half the basket felt pretty big. You just get yourself in a good rhythm and that's a testament to your teammates that are working hard to get you open. Guys like Akil [Mitchell] and Justin [Anderson] were doing a good job of screening. Jontel [Evans] was doing a great job of finding me. He's very good at getting to the paint and he makes my job easier as a shooter."
On his attributes that help his shooting:
"We talk about our footwork quite a bit. When we're practicing and working on our shooting we focus on 'fighting for your feet.' It's really important to get your feet square to the basket. It's the first thing as a shooter that I think about. Our coaching staff has done a really good job focusing on that with all of us. The rest is just getting your eyes on the rim and you have a good shot of getting it in."
On the team's offense:
"Offensively I think we are doing a really nice job of giving up good shots for great shots. We're a very unselfish team and you can see that in our play. The guys are always making an extra pass and it helps us out quite a bit offensively."