Virginia needed one game to remind America that it continues to be one of the nation’s premier defensive teams. The Cavaliers eye a repeat performance Monday when they host Austin Peay in a non-league affair.
Virginia has led the nation in scoring defense three times under coach Tony Bennett, including last season when the program held opponents to 56.4 points per game. In his 12-year coaching career, Bennett’s teams are 90-3 when holding an opponent below 50 points, including Friday’s 60-48 win over UNC Greensboro. The team returns three starters from 2016-17, but it was Kyle Guy - a reserve on last year’s squad - that led the team with 16 points in the opener. Austin Peay fell at Vanderbilt by 19 points in its 2017-18 debut.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3
ABOUT AUSTIN PEAY (0-1): The Governors lost 73-54 at Vanderbilt as they committed 17 turnovers and made only three 3-pointers in 13 attempts. Only one Austin Peay player, Terry Taylor, reached double figures in scoring, as Taylor went for 15 points in his collegiate debut. The Governors return only 32 total starts - eighth-fewest in the country - and have eight newcomers on the roster overall.
ABOUT VIRGINIA (1-0): The Cavaliers received a nice contribution from Devon Hall (4-of-5 for 13 points) in their season debut. Hall has improved all four years at Virginia and appears ready to take on an increased scoring load, as will Guy, who averaged 7.5 points as a freshman. Ty Jerome, who showed flashes as a freshman last season, will take on a bigger role this year but must be better than he was on Friday, when he shot 3-of-10 — 1-of-7 from the arc — en route to seven points.
1. Virginia was picked to finish sixth in the ACC preseason poll. The Cavaliers tied for fifth a season ago.
2. Under Bennett, Virginia is 113-24 at home, good for an .825 winning percentage.
3. Austin Peay F Averyl Ugba, a transfer from Grambling, had four turnovers and fouled out in 26 minutes in his Governors debut.
PREDICTION: Virginia 66, Austin Peay 47