Tale of the Tape: Virginia faces William & Mary

Virginia welcomes in-state opponent William & Mary Saturday afternoon, the first of three straight home games for the Cavaliers to close out 2018 and ring in the new year. Saturday’s game tips off at 2 p.m., and if you can’t make it out to John Paul Jones Arena, the game can be streamed on ACC Network Extra, via the ESPN app. As always, you can also listen on the Virginia Sports Radio Network.

The Wahoos are 10-0 after prevailing on the road Wednesday night at South Carolina behind a season-best 25 points from Ty Jerome. Entering Friday, UVA comes in at 2nd overall according to KenPom (5th in AdjD, 10th in AdjO) and 2nd overall in the newest NET rankings.

The ‘Hoos, who’ve appeared in the national Associated Press rankings for 23 straight polls, are currently No. 5 in the AP Top 25 and No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.

William & Mary (4-7) is rated 186th overall by KenPom (310th AdjD, 70th AdjO) and 201st in the NET. The Tribe have won two in a row — against Hampton and Division-III William Peace — after losing seven of the previous eight. The only truly impressive victory was a two-point home triumph over Saint Joseph’s out of the Atlantic 10 last month, with losses to Duquesne, Illinois-Chicago, Notre Dame, Radford, Marshall (UVA’s next opponent), George Mason and Old Dominion.

The Tribe’s defensive stats suggest that the Cavaliers could put up some big numbers if they’re shooting the ball even somewhat effectively. W&M hasn’t won a game in Charlottesville since 1977; Nathan Knight and Justin Pierce will do all they can to lead the Tribe to an upset.

Knight, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound junior, leads the Tribe with close to 20 points a game, while Pierce is a 6-7 junior wing who averages a double-double with 17.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per outing.

The duo averages a combined 24 shot attempts a night, so Tony Bennett’s defense will likely want to apply a ton of on-ball pressure whenever either touches the rock. However, Knight (team-high 34 assists) and Pierce (32 assists) have proven that they can find a teammate for an open shot.

Matt Milon, a 6-5 guard and Boston College transfer, provides experience and a dozen points a game for Coach Tony Shaver. Freshman guard L.J. Owens also scores close to 10 points a contest.

For Virginia, junior guard Kyle Guy has been lighting it up, scoring in double figures in four straight games and six of the last seven. He’s nailed 14 of his team-leading 27 triples over that four-game span, averaging 16.5 points in the process.

Sophomore De’Andre Hunter, on the other hand, has struggled with his shot as of late. Hunter posted double figures in each of the Cavaliers’ first eight games, but has scored 9 and a season-low 5 in the last two games, respectively, shooting just 3 for 16 from the field (19 percent) and 0 for 3 from long range. Perhaps a matchup against the Tribe’s subpar defense will be just the thing to lift Hunter out of his offensive slump.

Kihei Clark surprised us with his 20-plus minutes off the bench Wednesday night after recently undergoing an operation on his wrist. It will be interesting to see how much Bennett decides to use the freshman guard in these last two non-ACC matchups, particularly in the event of having a lopsided margin on the scoreboard.

As mentioned above, the ‘Hoos will wrap up the calendar year and the non-conference schedule on New Year’s Eve against the Thundering Herd at 1 p.m. at JPJ.

 Saturday, December 22, 2018Charlottesville, VA2 p.m. | ACC Network Extra 
 Leads all-time series,
Lost last meeting, 67-52,
in 2015
 10-0OVERALL W-L4-7 
 W 57-49 vs VCULAST GAMEW 106-89 vs
William Peace
 72.4 233rdPOINTS PER GAME77.3 114th 
81.3 330th 
 252-538 (47%) 99thFGM-FGA (%)303-636 (48%) 72nd 
 83-216 (38%) 43rd3PM-3PA (%)93-280 (33%) 218th 
 137-181 (76%) 31stFTM-FTA (%)151-220 (69%) 211th 
 193-503 (38%) 25thOPP FGM-FGA (%)324-673 (48%) 333rd 
 46-177 (26%) 6thOPP 3PM-3PA (%)99-244 (41%) 349th 
 81-129 (63%) 19thOPP FTM-FTA (%)147-196 (75%) 329th 
 32.8REBS PER GAME34.2 
 #11 Ty Jerome, 14.8 ppgSCORING#13 Nathan Knight, 19.1 ppg 
 #12 De’Andre Hunter, 14.5 ppg #23 Justin Pierce, 17.6 ppg 
 #5 Kyle Guy, 13.9 ppg #2 Matt Milon, 12.0 
 Mamadi Diakite, 59%FG %Nathan Knight,
 Kyle Guy, 273PMMatt Milon, 26 
 Ty Jerome, 42%3PT %L.J. Owens, 42% 
 Two with 1.000FT %L.J. Owens, 78% 
 Braxton Key, 5.3 rpgREBOUNDSJustin Pierce,
10.2 rpg
 Ty Jerome, 43ASSISTSNathan Knight,
 Ty Jerome, 20STEALSChase Audige, 12 
 Mamadi Diakite, 7BLOCKSNathan Knight,


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