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Harris' shooting slump hurts Virginia
Junior Joe Harris lost his scoring touch after torching Duke, and the Cavaliers are 1-3 since.
Friday, March 15, 2013
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Virginia junior Joe Harris was the toast of the country following a 36-point night in Virginia’s 73-68 victory upset of then-No. 3 Duke.
On Friday at the Greensboro Coliseum, he was another kind of toast.
Harris, who has been among the ACC leaders in field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage, saw a continuation of his late-season shooting slump in Virginia’s 75-56 loss to North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals.
Harris was 4 of 13 from the field, including 2 of 9 on 3-pointers, and finished with 13 points.
Since the Duke game, Harris has shot 29.8 percent (17 of 57) from the field and 26.9 percent (7 of 26) on 3-pointers as the Cavaliers have gone 1-3.
“Against Duke, he had a special game and certainly has had a very good year,” UVa coach Tony Bennett said, “but when he struggles a little bit, we struggle and that’s a compliment in a way and also a responsibility.
“He hasn’t played well. There’s certainly been a high level of focus on him. It’s been physical and we’ve played some teams that are playing good basketball, too. All those things, factored in, make a difference.”
Harris had five turnovers and also was among the UVa players who had difficulty containing N.C. State senior Scott Wood, who had a game-high 23 points and was 7 of 12 on 3-pointers.
“They probably keyed in on Joe [and] guarded him better than we guarded Scott Wood,” Bennett said. “If [Wood] earns them and they’re tough shots, we live with them.
“But, it’s when we lose vision or relax and he gets a clean look … those are the breakdowns that you can’t have and it was a combination.
“Joe was off today. That happens. We always say, ‘Don’t let your shot affect the rest of your game and try to be as sound as possible.’”
Paul Jesperson, bumped from the starting lineup to make room for a bigger player, 6-foot-11 freshman Mike Tobey, also spent considerable time chasing Wood during a 23-minute stint.
“We had some lapses on defense and gave him some pretty good looks,” Jesperson said. “So, I thought we got him going in that way. Otherwise, he hit some difficult shots tonight.
“We just didn’t come ready to play, I feel like. We had some mental lapses. We had some keys to the game and I don’t think we did any of them. We didn’t keep the ball out of the lane. We weren’t great in our transition defense and I think those things cost us.”
Jesperson finished with three points, going 1 for 5 from the field but extending his streak of games with at least one 3-point field goal to 12.
The Cavaliers were 5 of 20 on 3-pointers as a team and are 11 of 55 on 3’s over the last three games.
“Shooting can come and go and that’s why we’ve tried to become a little more purposeful about getting the ball inside,” Bennett said. “That gives us a better chance if the 3-ball isn’t going down, but when we talk about our margin of error, we’ve got to knock down some shots.”
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