Is Virginia better off without Landesberg?

GREENSBORO, N.C.

Addition by subtraction. Is there any other explanation for Virginia's dusting of Boston College on Thursday?

In their second quality performance since the suspension of their leading scorer, the Cavaliers defeated the Eagles 68-62 in the first round of the ACC tournament. They snapped a nine-game losing streak, avenged a defeat from eight days earlier and had five players score in double figures for the first time in 24 games.

All of which prompts a question that once seemed absurd: Is Virginia better without Sylven Landesberg?


Get the Baltimore Football app for iPhone and Android

We're talking about the program's most talented player, after all. Last season's ACC Rookie of the Year; a second-team all-conference selection this year; a Queens kid with a New York City game.

Without the injured Landesberg (thigh bruise) against Duke last month, the Cavaliers were helpless. They lost by 18.

But when the school suspended Landesberg for academic shortcomings before the regular-season finale against Maryland, Virginia adjusted. The Terps needed a bogus blocking foul and subsequent technical foul against Cavs coach Tony Bennett to escape by six.

Then Thursday, against a team it lost to by 13 on March 3, Virginia led for the final 24 minutes and by as many as 11 points.

Ball movement was faster, crisper and smarter. Shots were easier and more equitably distributed.

Perhaps most important, without Landesberg and disgruntled senior Calvin Baker, who left the team after the Maryland game, the Cavaliers (15-15) were a group more concerned about team than NBA prospects and playing time.

"Coach Bennett always preaches that our house cannot be divided," freshman point guard Jontel Evans said. "We're a family. We just came together. Today the house wasn't divided. It was unified."

With four assists, no turnovers and stout defense, Evans was among six Cavaliers who contributed mightily. Sammy Zeglinski, Jeff Jones, Jerome Meyinsse, Mike Scott and Mustapha Farrakhan combined for all of Virginia's points — Zeglinski's 21 are a career-best in an ACC game.

Like Evans, Farrakhan had four assists without a giveaway. The terminally inconsistent Scott matched his season-best with 13 rebounds.

Jones' 3-point heave with the shot clock expiring gave the Cavaliers a 27-25 lead with 4:08 remaining in the first half, an edge they never relinquished.

"In the second half we got a little shaky," Bennett said. "They showed some resolve. They didn't falter."

None showed more than Meyinsse, a 6-foot-9 senior power forward in the midst of the most remarkable late-career surge in ACC history. He scored eight of his 12 points after halftime, his fifth consecutive game in double figures.

In those five games, Meyinsse has scored 75 points. He scored 96 in his first THREE YEARS at Virginia.

"What he's doing on the court is awesome," Jones said.

As if by magic, Meyinsse is suddenly a force in the low post, hitting feathery turn-arounds and dunking with authority. All this from a young man who Thursday was named the ACC's basketball scholar-athlete of the year.

"It was a surprise to me," said Meyinsse, an economics major. "It was very nice, and my parents were here to see it, so that was great. They've helped me along this road and taught me how to carry myself."

And who taught him those moves in the paint?

"On the offensive end, I'm just trying to be more aggressive," Meyinsse said. "There were a couple of games where Sylven wasn't there, so I just tried to be more aggressive, and it just continued. My confidence has grown over the course of the season."

Virginia's season and Meyinsse's career figure to end this afternoon in a tournament quarterfinal against top-seeded Duke. But delaying that conclusion for a day and avoiding a season-closing 10-game losing streak were critical for Bennett and the Cavaliers as they move on from the coach's first season.

"He's the most positive guy I've seen in my life," Jones said of Bennett.

"Leading up to the game we had three really spirited practices," Bennett said. "There's been a good attitude. You have to do that when your tank isn't full."

The tank won't be full today, either. But full isn't always best.

"We're definitely loose," Jones said.

"We've got that (losing streak) weight off our shoulders. That was so brutal. We're just thinking about Duke. We're the only ones who believe."

David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at dteel@dailypress.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime.

PHOTO GALLERIES

Recent News Coverage on John Muir - Baltimore Sun
RSS feeds allow Web site content to be gathered via feed reader software. Click the subscribe link to obtain the feed URL for this page. The feed will update when new content appears on this page.

John Muir

A collection of news and information related to John Muir published by this site and its partners.

Top John Muir Articles

Displaying items 121-132
  • Kings Canyon National Park

    Kings Canyon National Park Most people who visit Kings Canyon National Park go no farther than a 10-minute drive inside the entrance. They stop at Grant Grove, behold the stand of sequoias led by the 267-foot General Grant Tree and head home. Not that...
  • Boutique discounts on clothing, jewelry, eyewear, spa treatments

    At the just-opened Rex Boutique in Venice, Angela and Dara Rexroad are committed to stocking clothes that are made locally with organic fabrics or sewn abroad under fair trade guidelines. Their social concerns reflect the Rexroads' heritage as great-...
  • Greenacres tree kept Christmas spirit year-round

    Greenacres tree kept Christmas spirit year-round
    In our eco-challenged world of global warming and deforestation, the holiday tree is struggling to survive as a family tradition. What do we do? Buy the artificial tree that's not biodegradable? Support the sustainable -- but not local -- tree farm?...
  • John Muirs Botanical Legacy

    ‘John Muir’s Botanical Legacy’
  • Hey, gay couples: Need a place to tie the knot? Honeymoon? Look no further

    With California's same-sex marriages making headlines, the state's Travel and Tourism Commission compiled a handy list of potential wedding and honeymoon sites. After all, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and San Diego were among the top 21...
  • Sourcebook 2008: California national parks

    Find out about historic and scenic sites as well as programs, fees and directions to California's national parks, monuments and recreation areas: Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Fort Mason, B201, San Francisco, CA 94123; (415) 561-...
  • Is Ken Burns a secret propagandist for socialism?

     
    I wasn't planning on DVR-ing Ken Burns' new six-part PBS series "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," which debuts Sunday night because: 1) I don't have 18 hours of room left on my TiVo; 2) judging from the title, I......
  • Sierra Club names new executive director

     
    The Sierra Club, the largest and oldest environmental advocacy group in the nation, has named Michael Brune its next executive director. A longtime environmental organizer who has headed the Rainforest Action Network for the last seven years, Brune will...
  • Contra Costa County officials oppose renaming Mt. Diablo after Reagan

     
    Contra Costa County officials are drafting a letter to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names opposing efforts to change the name of Mt. Diablo, the beloved landmark that rises above the East Bay. The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously......
  • Yosemite waterfalls

     
    Got a thing for water flowing down giant slabs of rock? If so, get thyself ASAP to Yosemite National Park. It's water, water everywhere, and all the celebrity waterfalls are putting on the biggest show of the season: starring Bridalveil,......
  • Effort to designate Ronald Reagan Day in California get bipartisan support. What do you think?

     
    California lawmakers appear to be backing an effort to designate Ronald Reagan Day in the state. Ronald Reagan Day would be Feb. 6 -- the birthday of the former actor, California governor and U.S. president. Dedicating a special day of......
  • Trout plants for Southern California and Eastern Sierra during the week beginning July 19

     
    Barring adverse weather, water or road conditions, the following is a list of Southern California and Eastern Sierra waters, listed by county, that will be stocked with rainbow trout throughout the week of July 19 by the Department of Fish......