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Sylven Landesberg was held scoreless in the first half of Saturday’s loss to Wake Forest.
By most accounts, Virginia guard Sylven Landesberg has not had a normal freshman season. There was no time for a learning curve. No time for nervous jitters or stage fright. He has been the main attraction since day one.
Burdened with carrying a bulk of the offense for a struggling team, Landesberg has responded with resounding success. As the season wears on, however, ACC opponents have begun to structure their game plan around Landesberg, resulting in fewer points and mounting frustration for the young guard. Both Miami and Wake Forest keyed in on Landesberg’s abilities in the paint and worked to take away driving lanes, limiting his production.
In addition to his slowed offensive production, Landesberg has turned the ball over seven times in the past two games combined (4 vs. Miami, 3 vs. WFU). As teams have worked to close off driving lanes, Landesberg has been forced to shoot from the perimeter. With only an average long-range jumper, Landesberg has attempted to force himself into the paint more, resulting in turnovers.
“I feel a lot of pressure coming out of the game, the defenders on me,” Landesberg said. “Every time I touch the ball, it seems like they are just flooding to my side. It’s real hard to try to make a play happen.”
The Demon Deacons had the most success of any team this season silencing Landesberg. Wake’s defense held him scoreless nearly 23 minutes into the game before he broke through with a lay-up. According to Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio, guarding Landesberg has to be a team effort.
“As we prepared in the short time we had, we said that five guys have to guard him. When he has the ball, you just got to take a step towards him. If he bounces it once, take another step, if he bounces it another time, take another step,” he said “We just want to shrink the lane a little bit so that he sees a mass of bodies in there.”
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