Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Virginia Has Seen Best, Worst of Road

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Virginia Has Seen Best, Worst of Road

Article excerpt

Virginia was on the short list of teams in the preseason that coaches and observers believed would contend for the ACC championship. And the No. 9 Cavaliers got off to a strong start before the road got really difficult.

Virginia began the season 12-1, then hit a stretch when it lost three times in four games at the start of ACC play. The common theme in those losses was the road, and that conference road losing streak looked as if it was going to grow to four games Jan. 26 when the Cavaliers trailed Wake Forest, 70-63, with 15 seconds remaining.

But the Cavaliers made three 3-pointers in the final 15 seconds - including a bank shot by Darius Thompson (his first field goal of the game) at the buzzer that lifted them to a 72-71 win.

While it might be too soon to say the comeback and shot changed the Cavaliers fortunes for the season, the momentum carried over into a 63-47 pounding of Louisville Saturday at KFC Yum! Center.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said the Cavaliers likely learned something from the Wake Forest comeback and gained confidence that he hopes will carry through on the road for the rest of the season.

"We are coming off a complete performance; hopefully we can grow from that," he said. "We responded from a miraculous victory over Wake Forest, and responded the right way. It wasn't just the win. It certainly didn't hurt to win a game that was not very probable, and more importantly, we hadn't won in a conference game on the road.

"So it allowed us to focus on what was next. We were fully engaged in getting ready for [Louisville], but I do think there was maybe more confidence going into it because we pulled one out the way that we did against Wake Forest."

The good news for the Cavaliers (17-4, 6-3) is that they still have a chance to get back into the race and try to win the ACC regular-season title for the third year in a row. It plays host tonight to Boston College, but then goes on the road Saturday to play Pitt (17-4, 6-3) at Petersen Events Center. …

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