CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Reeling Virginia on Saturday suspended scoring leader Sylven Landesberg for the rest of the season for failing to meet his academic obligations.
The school made the announcement about an hour before the Cavaliers took an eight-game losing streak into their afternoon regular season-finale against Maryland (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP).
"It was a hard decision but I hope that it helps," coach Tony Bennett said after his team made a stirring comeback, but came up short in a 74-68 loss to the Terrapins.
"It was not easy to do considering the circumstances, but again, there are expectations and consequences for not meeting those expectations," the first-year coach said.
He said Landesberg fell short of expectations Bennett set for the basketball team.
The loss of Landesberg figures to be especially hard since he is easily the best player for Virginia (14-15, 5-11 Atlantic Coast Conference), which has floundered since an eight-game winning streak earlier in the season. The Cavaliers have lost 11 of 13 games since.
Landesberg was the ACC's top rookie last season, and leads the Cavaliers with averages of 17.3 points and 2.9 assists this season. He's played a team-high 32 minutes per game.
He also became the fourth player to be disciplined this season.
Center Assane Sene was suspended for three games at the start of the season for conduct detrimental to the team, and forward Jamil Tucker took a personal leave of absence early in the season, but later was dismissed from the team, also for his academic shortcomings.
Guard Calvin Baker also was suspended for one game during the season.
"We're really trying to establish this program on the right values," Bennett said. "When you come to the University of Virginia, there are some expectations and the young men on the team need to know that when we say things, we mean them."