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Men's Basketball: Three-point shooting a surprise

Before the season, Tony Bennett was asked about Virginia's struggles from the three-point line last season. The Cavaliers were returning only one player who made more than 35 percent of his three-pointers in 2008-09, and Bennett joked that there are a lot of shooters, but not a lot of makers.

He said the players worked hard on shooting during the offseason, but added that the team needed to prioritize what it could improve during practice time.

"That'll be an area to watch," Bennett said at the time. "Are we a lights-out shooting team? I don't see that yet. That would certainly be nice."

He added that he did not know "for sure", although he did not sound convinced.

At the midpoint of the season, Virginia's outside shooting has actually become a strength. The Cavaliers are No. 9 in the nation in three-point shooting percentage, connecting on 41.5 percent from beyond the arc. That is the top percentage in the ACC.

Sammy Zeglinski leads the conference with 48.7 percent from three-point range. Jeff Jones has made 46.8 percent of his three-pointers, while Will Sherrill and Mustapha Farrakhan are both shooting 40 percent. Sylven Landesberg is not far behind with 38.1 percent.

"I know I want us to get good looks," Bennett said. "The key to shooting the ball from the perimeter is are you getting quality looks? Are we getting guys the looks that they can make? When you're not forcing shots, when guys are getting open with their feet set, good looks, that's when you shoot them with confidence."

On top of that, Virginia has made clutch shots. Zeglinski, Jones and Farrakhan have all hit clutch three-pointers during the Cavaliers' winning streak.

"The right guys are shooting them at the right time," Bennett said.

By Zach Berman  |  January 20, 2010; 12:43 PM ET
 
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Comments

This takes me back to the days of Sean Singletary and JR Reynolds.

Posted by: Brianwohlert | January 20, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

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