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Men's College Basketball
Preview
Cleveland St. at Virginia
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, December 18, 2014
Where: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Virginia

While No. 5 Virginia continues to prove it may have the best defense in the country, its efficient offensive performance in its last game may have been the most impressive aspect of its season thus far. The Cavaliers return from an 11-day layoff on Thursday when they host Cleveland State. Virginia has posted some gaudy defensive numbers in its best start since 2001-02, leading the country in scoring defense (47.4 points) while ranking third in field-goal percentage defense (32.1).

Even though VCU became the 15th straight opponent to score fewer than 70 points against the Cavaliers, Virginia’s 68.3 percent effort from the field in its 74-57 victory on Dec. 6 fell just shy of the school record the team recorded in a win over Baltimore in 1980 (69.2). However, after matching a season high by committing 16 turnovers against the Rams’ vaunted full-court defense, the Cavaliers could be in for more of the same against the Vikings’ pressure defense that ranks fifth in the country in steals (10.5). Cleveland State, which gave No. 4 Louisville one of its closest calls of the year with a 45-33 loss on Nov. 26, easily handled NAIA foe Mount Vernon Nazarene 86-40 on Monday.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

ABOUT CLEVELAND STATE (5-5): The Vikings rode the hot hand of Trey Lewis in their win over Mount Vernon Nazarene as he tied a school record with nine 3-pointers and shot 10-of-14 from the field en route to a career-high 32-point performance. With its 9-of-17 effort beyond the arc on Monday, Cleveland State extended its streaks of hitting at least one 3-pointer to 511 games and knocking down at least three triples to 60 games. The Vikings also matched a season best with 16 steals and forced a season-high 28 turnovers, leading to 30 points.

ABOUT VIRGINIA (9-0): Leading scorer Justin Anderson didn’t warm up with the team before playing the Rams after injuring his right ankle in the Cavaliers’ Dec. 3 victory over Maryland, but keyed their torrid shooting performance with a 6-for-7 effort from the floor on his way to a season-high 21-point performance. "(Anderson) is as good as anyone at his position in the country. (I’m) so impressed by the progress that he's made; he's just a complete player," VCU coach Shaka Smart remarked after Virginia’s win. Starting forward Darion Atkins, who also suffered an ankle injury on Dec. 3, is expected to return Thursday after sitting out against the Rams.

TIP-INS

1. Virginia has held each of its opponents to 40 percent or less from the field and hasn’t allowed any team to shoot 50 percent in 33 consecutive games.

2. Lewis, who ranks second in the Horizon League in scoring (19 points per game), has posted five of his nine career 20-point efforts over the last seven contests.

3. Anderson – a career 29.8 percent shooter from 3-point range coming into the season – leads the ACC at 58.8 percent in 2014.

PREDICTION: Virginia 66, Cleveland State 52
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Cleveland St. 5-5 W1 4-1 1-4 0-0 1-2 4-3 0-0
Virginia 9-0 W9 4-0 3-0 2-0 1-0 8-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Cleveland St. Virginia
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
11/25/09 CLEV 65 UVA 76 65 18 55.3 76 28 52.8
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Cleveland St. J. Montgomery 14 62.5 1
Virginia S. Landesberg 20 46.2 7
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Cleveland St. J. Cunningham 4 0 4
Virginia M. Scott 8 4 4
Assists Player  
Cleveland St. N. Cole 5
Virginia S. Landesberg 5
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Cleveland St. T. Lewis 190 44.4 40
Virginia J. Anderson 142 57.0 24
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Cleveland St. A. Grady 57 20 37
Virginia M. Tobey 64 23 41
Assists Player  
Cleveland St. T. Lewis 39
Virginia L. Perrantes 32
Quickchart Matchup
Cleveland St. Off vs  Virginia Defense
63.0 Points For
47.4 Points Against
39.3 FG%
32.4 FG%
31.0 Reb
22.8 Reb
Virginia Off vs  Cleveland St. Defense
68.7 Points For
61.9 Points Against
48.7 FG%
42.2 FG%
22.8 Reb
29.8 Reb