No. 21 Virginia will look to extend the Atlantic Coast Conference’s longest winning streak and remain unbeaten at home Tuesday against Pittsburgh in Charlottesville, Va.
The Cavaliers (19-5, 10-3 ACC) have won eight in a row overall and 23 straight at John Paul Jones Arena, the longest active streak in NCAA Division I. That includes a 13-0 mark at home this season for Virginia, who rejoined the Top 25 on Monday and enter the week one game behind first-place North Carolina in the ACC.
“We’re trending upwards, getting towards the top of the standings and we just want to stay there,” Virginia guard Reece Beekman said after Saturday’s 80-76 win at Florida State.
A victory over Pitt would give Virginia its 12th season with at least 20 wins since Tony Bennett became head coach in 2009-10.
Beekman scored a career-high 21 points against the Seminoles. He leads Virginia with 13.8 points per game and leads the ACC in assists (6.1) and steals (2.4). Isaac McKneely scored a career-best 29 points at Florida State and leads the nation in 3-point shooting percentage to begin the week at 48.0 percent.
“He’s having a heck of a year and he’s a good one,” Bennett said of McKneely. “He’s had a few coming-out parties, but tonight he was really good in terms of showing what he could do in big-time spots.”
McKneely made 3 of 4 free throws in the final eight seconds to seal the win over Florida State.
“I think that’s a great win for us,” McKneely said. “We kept stretching the lead and they just kept fighting back, going downhill, getting and-ones, getting some turnovers. We knew they were gonna create some turnovers, and we knew that the game was never over until the clock hit zero. So we just had to keep fighting.”
The Cavaliers and Panthers (15-8, 6-6) are meeting for the first time this season. Pittsburgh is 5-2 in road games and enters on a three-game winning streak.
The Panthers rallied from 13 down and pulled off a 68-65 home upset over then-No. 11 Virginia the last time these teams clashed on Jan. 3, 2023.
Pitt is 1-2 against ranked opponents this season, including a stunning 80-76 takedown of then-No. 7 Duke on Jan. 20 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Panthers have not played since a 67-64 victory at NC State on Feb. 7. Jaland Lowe scored 20 points, Blake Hinson added 16 and Carlton Carrington had 12 and Pitt outscored the Wolfpack 18-6 at the charity stripe.
“That’s something that has been a little bit of an Achilles heel for us this year,” Panthers coach Jeff Capel said of the clutch free-throw shooting against NC State. “It was great to see in some pressure situations to step up and make them.”
Hinson, who leads Pitt with 17.9 points per game, surpassed the 1,500-point mark for his career in the win. Carrington averages 13.6 points and a team-high 4.2 assists, and Ishmael Leggett contributes 12.1 points and a team-high 5.4 rebounds per game.