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ACC action pits Irish against Cavaliers

<p>The 14th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers have won 10 games in a row, and will seek to extend that margin to 11 when they host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup at John Paul Jones Arena.</p>

Charlottesville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - The 14th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers have won 10 games in a row, and will seek to extend that margin to 11 when they host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup at John Paul Jones Arena.

Notre Dame had a two-game win streak snapped on Wednesday when the Irish lost to Miami, 71-64, in ACC play. The Irish fell to 5-9 in conference action, which is eight games behind current conference leader (and their next opponent) Virginia.

Virginia grabbed its 10th victory in a row when the team defeated intrastate rival Virginia Tech, 57-53, on the road Tuesday. The Cavaliers climbed into the driver's seat in the ACC after Boston College pulled of a shocking defeat of previously unbeaten Syracuse this week and are now 13-1 in conference play.

The Cavs have quickly jumped out ahead in the series with Notre Dame, leading 7-1. Virginia opened the 2013-14 series against the Irish with a 68-53 victory back on Jan. 28.

Notre Dame fell behind to Miami by 15 points early in the second half, rallied in the final five minutes, but fell by seven points to the Hurricanes. Pat Connaughton scored 22 points to lead Notre Dame, adding four assists and connecting on six 3-point tries in the game. Demetrius Jackson came off the bench to score 17 points with a team-high five assists. The Irish shot an even 40 percent from the floor in the game.

Eric Atkins and Garrick Sherman are tied for the top spot on the team in scoring this season, each netting 13.8 ppg. Sherman is shooting 50.8 percent from the field, and leads the team with 7.6 rpg with 19 blocked shots. Atkins tops the squad with 4.8 apg and 38 steals. Connaughton is just shy of their scoring total at 13.6 ppg, and is right behind Sherman at 7.2 rpg.

Virginia Tech controlled most of the game versus Virginia on Tuesday night, until the Cavaliers made a late run to take the lead. Virginia used a 24-6 run to erase an 11-point deficit to claim its 10th victory in a row, thanks to crucial baskets from Justin Anderson and Joe Harris. Malcolm Brogdon led the Cavs with 12 points in the game, and London Perrantes chipped in with 11. Akil Mitchell tallied 10 rebounds in the come-from-behind victory.

Brogdon leads Virginia in scoring this season with 12.3 ppg on 42.6 percent shooting. The Cavs as a unit are averaging just 65.8 ppg through 27 games played, but pride themselves on their defense, holding opponents to just 55.5 ppg. Harris is second behind Brogdon in scoring, netting 11.6 ppg. Mitchell leads the team in rebounding with 6.9 rpg, and Perrantes tops the squad with 100 assists on the year.

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