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Clemson-Virginia Preview

AP - Sports

It's difficult to score against Virginia and Clemson, and that was apparent the last time these teams met.

Another low-scoring affair figures to be in order Tuesday night when the 16th-ranked Cavaliers meet a Tigers team seeking to end a four-game road slide.

Virginia (17-3, 4-2 ACC) is second in the country in scoring defense, yielding 50.6 points per game, while Clemson (11-9, 3-3) is second in the conference in that department at 59.7.

It's been almost a year since these teams met in Charlottesville on Feb. 2, when Virginia won 49-47. A fast start was a key to that game as the Cavaliers never trailed after a 14-1 run over the first seven minutes.

This rematch will be different because Virginia's Mike Scott was out with an ankle injury for last year's meeting. The fifth-year senior now leads the team in points per game (16.7), rebounds per game (8.3) and field-goal percentage (57.4).

Scott has posted back-to-back 18-point efforts in victories for Virginia, which won 61-60 at North Carolina State on Saturday. The Cavaliers built a 38-31 halftime lead before limiting the Wolfpack to 35.5 percent shooting after the break to hold on.

"Our offense kept us in it the first half and gave us the lead where our defense let us down," coach Tony Bennett said. "In the second half, I thought our defense was better - not great, but better - and our offense struggled."

Bennett's team had 11 turnovers, and continues to lead the ACC in that department with just 11.2 per game. The Cavs have been even better in conference games with a 9.2 average.

Virginia's defense will focus on Andre Young, the only Clemson player to reach double figures in last season's matchup with 13 points. Young has averaged 24.0 points on 66.7 percent shooting during consecutive wins for the Tigers.

"We all knew that he was going to be the guy coming into the season," coach Brad Brownell said. "There have been some times when he hasn't been as consistent as we would like.

"That's part of the process of being a primary player, of being asked and expected to make big plays and big shots. The last two games, he's been able to do that for us. I think our guys certainly look for him."

Young is trying to improve his play on the road, where he's shooting 39.2 percent and averaging 12.8 points during Clemson's four-game slide in opponents' arenas.

The Tigers have shot 45.1 percent over their last three contests overall after failing to make 40 percent in the previous two. They won 71-60 over Wake Forest on Saturday.

"I think our guys have gotten a little better offensively," Brownell said. "I think we're a little more comfortable."

The Tigers have also shown improvement in shooting 3-pointers at 43.8 percent over the last two games.

Clemson, however, remains the ACC's third-worst team in that category at 33.4 percent while Virginia is one of the best in the nation in limiting opponents to 26.2 percent on 3s.

The Tigers will also be without a key player Tuesday, as forward Milton Jennings has been suspended indefinitely by Brownell for academic reasons. The junior has started 15 games and is averaging career highs of 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds.

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