Wake Forest-Virginia Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- Now that Mike Scott is back with Virginia, it may finally be in position to end a frustrating losing streak against Wake Forest.
Scott will try to help the No. 19 Cavaliers end a six-game slide to the Demon Deacons in Wednesday night's ACC matchup in Charlottesville.
Virginia (18-4, 5-3) has not beaten Wake Forest (11-12, 2-7) since an 88-76 home victory Jan. 21, 2007. The Demon Deacons' 76-71 home win last Jan. 29 was their lone ACC victory of the campaign.
Scott was out with an ankle injury for that game and received a medical hardship waiver to play a fifth season. He's averaging a career-high 17.0 points to go with 8.5 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers.
"Mike's had a very good year," coach Tony Bennett said. "He's certainly (seeing) a lot of the defenses are gearing up to stop him. But he's played hard. He's hit big shots for us, and he's been terrific."
The 6-foot-8 Scott has posted double-doubles in his last two games, with 16 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday's 58-55 loss at then-No. 21 Florida State. He's averaged 6.8 points on 35.3 percent shooting while totaling 20 rebounds in four career losses to the Demon Deacons.
"Well, he's a real tough matchup, he really is," Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "He'll post up mid-range. He can shoot over the top of you. You put length on him, and he scores in a variety of ways. He can take bigger guys out. It's hard."
While Virginia is second in the country in yielding 51.4 points per game, Wake Forest is one of the worst in the conference at 70.7. The Cavaliers control the tempo by turning the ball over an ACC-low 11.5 times per game.
"You get nothing easy with Virginia," Bzdelik said. "Their offense helps their defense. I think that's a key phrase. Their offense helps their defense because they don't turn it over."
Wake Forest has dropped 15 of 16 ACC road games since its last trip to Virginia, a 64-61 overtime victory Feb. 6, 2010. That Demon Deacons team featured future NBA players Al-Farouq Aminu and Ish Smith.
This team is led by C.J. Harris, second in the ACC with 17.5 points per game. Harris had team highs of 15 points and seven assists to spark last season's win over Virginia.
"I think they're probably one of the most improved teams in our league," Bennett said. "(Bzdelik) has done a great job. They added some personnel and they're playing certainly very competitive good basketball."
Each team's best 3-point shooter is named Harris. C.J. Harris is the ACC's best at 45.6 percent while Virginia's Joe Harris has made 12 of his last 21 attempts from beyond the arc.
The Cavaliers' Sammy Zeglinski, meanwhile, has made 2 of 12 3s over the last two games.
"It wasn't that he was leaving it short," said Bennett about Zeglinski's shooting woes. "He certainly shot them strong, but I didn't see anything particularly from, I guess, a square-up technique or an issue that looked different in his shot."
Updated February 7, 2012