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Cavaliers hope Harris can play with broken hand

BY ADAM HIMMELSBACH

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said that guard Joe Harris will be a game-time decision in the Cavaliers’ game against Clemson on Tuesday.

Harris, who is right-handed, broke a bone in his left hand during the Cavaliers’ loss to North Carolina on Saturday. The sophomore is expected to wear protective padding whenever he returns.

“I’m sure it will be a little cumbersome,” Bennett said on Monday’s weekly Atlantic Coast Conference coaches’ teleconference. “But it’s also got to allow for protection.”

Harris is averaging 12.5 points (second on the team) and 4.1 rebounds per game this year. The Cavaliers (19–5, 6–4 ACC) are already without center Assane Sene, who is recovering from an ankle injury.

CHOKING TIGERS

If Virginia’s game against Clemson goes down to the wire, the Cavaliers seem most likely to emerge with a win.

Five of Clemson’s six conference losses have come by four points or less, and the other was hardly a blowout, a seven-point setback against Duke.

Tigers coach Brad Brownell said the late-game struggles have been a mixture of poor free-throw shooting and bad bounces.

“You feel a little snake-bit,” Brownell said. “In all honesty, some of the kids have executed things very well to put ourselves in a position to make a play, but we haven’t closed it.”

PLUMLEE ON THE REBOUND

Duke completed one of the most stunning finishes of this season when it rallied from a 12-point deficit in the final minutes to stun North Carolina last week.

And on Saturday, forward Miles Plumlee made sure there would be no letdown against Maryland.

The senior pulled down 22 rebounds—including nine on the offensive glass—as the Blue Devils took a 73–55 win.

“When a senior does it, it means he has a sense of urgency,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “This is his last time. Sometimes for a senior that can motivate a guy to do a little bit more.”

HEALING HEELS

North Carolina coach Roy Williams said that freshman P.J. Hairston, who sat out the Tar Heels’ win against Virginia with a left foot injury, could return to light practice soon.

He added that Harrison Barnes has some minor swelling in his ankle, but it does not seem serious.

“I think it was even better after the Virginia game than it was after the Duke game,” Williams said.

BIG TEST FOR WOLFPACK

N.C. State is 7–3 in the conference, just one game behind Duke, North Carolina and Florida State, who are tied for first at 8–2,

The Wolfpack is riding a three-game winning streak, but the next eight days will be most telling.

N.C. State will face Duke on Thursday, and that will be followed by games against North Carolina and Florida State.

But coach Mark Gottfried is not letting his players look that far ahead.

“We have one very difficult game Thursday and that’s where our attention is,” he said. “It’s not anywhere past one game.”

Adam Himmelsbach: 540/374-5442

ahimmelsbach@freelancestar.com

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