Virginia-Clemson Preview

The Associated Press

Virginia won a close game against Clemson two weeks ago. Personnel issues for both teams could lead to a different outcome in the rematch.

The No. 22 Cavaliers are unsure what to expect from second-leading scorer Joe Harris on the road Tuesday night when they hope to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time.

Virginia (19-5, 6-4 ACC) won 65-61 at home over Clemson (12-12, 4-6) on Jan. 31 behind Mike Scott's 23 points and 10 rebounds and Harris' 19 points.

Harris, however, fractured a bone in his non-shooting left hand in Saturday's 70-52 loss at then-No. 5 North Carolina. He's second on the team in scoring (12.5 ppg) and rebounding (4.1 per game) and first in minutes (730).

The sophomore guard will be a game-time decision. If he plays, he will wear protective padding.

"I'm sure it will be a little cumbersome but it's also got to allow for protection," coach Tony Bennett said.

A subpar Harris would increase Virginia's chances of dropping a third straight road game. Clemson figures to have a better opportunity in this rematch regardless because of the availability of Milton Jennings, who missed last month's meeting for failing to comply with the team's academic standards.

"They did not have Jennings for that game," Bennett said. "... And now they have him and he's played very well for them."

Jennings has returned to average 14.5 points on 57.9 percent shooting in his last two games. He moved back into the lineup and had 15 points in Saturday's 78-58 win at Wake Forest.

"If he can make his perimeter shot, that really helps our offense out in terms of giving us another shooter on the floor," coach Brad Brownell said. "He shot reasonably well the last couple of games."

The Tigers shot a season-high 58.2 percent Saturday in their third-highest scoring effort of the season. Getting untracked on offense should be more difficult against a Virginia team that is second in the nation defensively, allowing 51.9 points per game.

Scott, shooting an ACC-best 59.8 percent, presents a tough matchup on the other side. He's averaging 17.0 points on 63.6 percent shooting and 8.0 rebounds over his last four games against the Tigers.

"He's so efficient," Brownell said. "Seems like he makes every open shot. He's like a pro that way. When you watch the NBA, they don't miss many open shots. He had some open shots in our game, and every one he had, he made."

The Cavaliers shot 55.8 percent in the first meeting for their second-highest mark this season and best in an ACC game over their last seven seasons.

That defeat is part of a frustrating pattern for Clemson, which has suffered its conference losses by a combined 20 points.

"You feel a little snake-bit," Brownell said. "In all honesty, some of the kids have executed things very well to put ourselves in a position to make a play, but we haven't closed it, we haven't made the shot or made the free throws, so we've let some teams off the hook a little bit."

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