Houston coach fully expects to face Beekman in Saturday’s showdown with Virginia

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Reece Beekman (Photo: UVA Athletics)

Virginia associate head coach Jason Williford said this week that guard Reece Beekman will be day-to-day in terms of being healthy enough for Saturday’s big top-five showdown with Houston.

Kelvin Sampson isn’t buying it.

“I’m not allowed to look at it like that,” the Houston coach said Thursday. “I have to focus on [Virginia’s] gonna have him.”

Beekman rolled his ankle in the first half of UVA’s win at Michigan on Nov. 29, came back and played with limited movement against the Wolverines in the second half. He also played 31 minutes in the Cavaliers’ home win over Florida State on Dec. 3, but clearly couldn’t move the way he’s accustomed. The guard started against James Madison on Dec. 6, but played only four minutes, straining his hamstring in the early going of that game before Dr. David Diduch advised that Beekman didn’t return to the game.

Virginia has been on exam break ever since, and although the team has practiced, it hasn’t played in a game since JMU.

“I think if we would have played two days later (following the JMU game), that probably would be more relevant, but I think you have to assume that after 11 days, there’s no way Reece Beekman’s going to miss this game,” Sampson said. “That kid is a warrior. I’ve had kids with injuries and you give them a week, 10 days, 11 days, they’re going to play.

“We’ve looked at the guys that Tony [Bennett] has coming off the bench and it’s somewhat like us in the backcourt, with freshmen and experienced guys. But [Kihei] Clark, Beekman and [Armaan] Franklin are going to play the majority of minutes against us and that’s what we’re preparing for.”

Friday: Houston’s Kelvin Sampson breaks down his Virginia opponent for Saturday’s big game.