Hurricanes hope to avoid repeat of Cavaliers’ last visit

Sophomore guard James Palmer (12) dribbles around a Virginia Tech player during the Hurricanes win over the Hokies 65-49 at the BankUnited Center last Wednesday. Victoria McKaba // Assistant Photo Editor

The No. 11 Hurricanes will host No. 7 Virginia Monday night. Although Miami is 3-4 on the road in ACC play after the 96-71 thrashing by North Carolina on Saturday, the team is 7-0 at home. Miami sits tied for second in the ACC with Virginia and No. 18 Louisville, with North Carolina holding a one-game lead in first place.

Miami is looking to avoid an ending like the last time UVA paid a visit – the Cavaliers left South Florida with a double-overtime win. Virginia also won this season’s first matchup 66-58 in Charlottesville back in January.

Virginia is the No. 2 scoring defense in the country, so the Canes will need their stars to perform on Monday. After a 10-point showing Saturday, redshirt senior guard Sheldon McClellan will look to get back to his scoring ways. Miami’s leading scorer at 15.8 points per game also posts the top shooting percentage among ACC guards at 52 percent.

Redshirt senior guard Angel Rodriguez needs to continue his recent upward trend. Rodriguez has scored double digits in nine of the last 10 games while averaging a solid 45.7 percent shooting from the field.

However, Miami might be without star sixth-man Ja’Quan Newton, whose status for Monday is unknown. The sophomore guard left the North Carolina game early with a bone bruise on his left shin. The Canes do not have another player that can replicate his production off the bench.

The Cavaliers will have had a week’s worth of rest heading into Monday night. Miami must keep an eye on Malcolm Brogdon, who has had 13 games this season with 20 or more points. The redshirt senior guard is averaging 17.8 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field this season.

The Canes must avoid turnovers and take advantage of scoring opportunities against the stingy Virginia defense. On the other side of the ball, Miami has to lock down the paint. While giving up a season-high 96 points against UNC Saturday, the Canes allowed 50 points inside the lane.

A win over Virginia will give the Canes a much-needed boost amid a brutal four-game stretch. After UNC and Virginia, Miami has to face Louisville and No. 19 Notre Dame in its next two games.

The Canes play Virginia at 7 p.m. on Monday at the BankUnited Center.