No. 16 Virginia will have 11 days to take a closer look at its first loss of the season and hopes to learn something from the experience as the Cavaliers open a four-game homestand against Davidson on Saturday afternoon. Virginia started the season with eight straight non-conference wins before dropping a 68-61 decision in a difficult environment at 11th-ranked West Virginia on Dec. 5.
“We played well enough to be in there and have a chance,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett told reporters, “but not well enough in (key) stretches to come away with a win in this setting against that type of intensity and pressure.” Senior forward Isaiah Wilkins said there were definitely some positives from the game for Virginia, which leads the nation in scoring defense (52.7) despite allowing a season-high in points along with 10 makes from 3-point range - four above its average - against the Mountaineers. The Cavaliers will be tested defensively against Davidson, which averages 83.1 points, boasts three players scoring at least 15 per contest and leads the nation with 13.1 made 3-pointers per game. The Wildcats, who have dropped eight straight against Virginia, are coming off a 74-51 victory over VMI on Dec. 5 and that followed an 85-75 setback against seventh-ranked North Carolina.
TV: 2 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra
ABOUT DAVIDSON (4-3): Most of the Wildcats’ offense comes from three players, and senior forward Peyton Aldridge leads the way at 21.7 points per game while averaging a team-high 7.1 rebounds and dishing out 4.1 assists per contest. Sophomore guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson has been productive (17.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, team-best 5.4 assists) and freshman guard Kellan Grady contributes 15.4 points per game. Will Magarity, a 6-11 senior from Sweden, registered a season-high eight points in the victory over VMI after totaling 16 in his other five games.
ABOUT VIRGINIA (8-1): Sophomore guard Kyle Guy leads the Cavaliers at 16.8 points per contest, draining 26-of-58 from behind the arc, and rebounded from a cold first half to score 18 against West Virginia. “Shooters shoot,” senior guard Devon Hall told the team’s website. “That dude’s got the utmost confidence in himself. If he passes up a jump shot, I’m going to be mad (at Guy) and everybody else on the team is going to be mad.” Hall is averaging 16 points over the last four games to push his average to 12.6 while Wilkins tops the team in rebounding (6.6).
1. Virginia sophomore F Mamadi Diakite had nine points in a career high-tying 29 minutes off the bench against West Virginia.
2. Davidson, which last beat a ranked team in January 2015, also sits second in the nation in fewest turnovers per contest (8.6) entering Thursday’s games.
3. Cavaliers G Nigel Johnson, who averaged 11.3 points at Rutgers last season, is shooting only 33.9 percent from the field in the first eight games.
PREDICTION: Virginia 70, Davidson 60