Nov. 14, 1997

UVA Tips off against In-State Rival Richmond

Virginia (1996-97 record: 18-13) opens its 93rd season of basketball Sunday evening against in-state opponent Richmond (1996-97 record: 13-15). Tip off is set for 7:00 p.m.

Even though Sunday's game is on Richmond's home court at the Robins Center, the Cavaliers are considered the "home" team.

The Series vs. Richmond
Virginia holds a 48-35 lead in the series against Richmond that dates back to its beginning over 80 years ago. Virginia won the most recent meeting, an 83-66 win last season in Charlottesville.

The Cavaliers have won 11 of the last 13 meetings vs. the Spiders dating back to the 1968-69 campaign.

After not playing on the Spiders' home court for 27 years (1968-95), this is the Cavaliers' second appearance at the Robins Center in the last three seasons. Virginia downed Richmond 67-52 at the Robins Center during the 1995-96 season.

Deane Image
Guard Harold Deane

Guard Harold Deane led five Cavaliers in double figures with 23 points in Virginia's 83-66 win over Richmond last season in Charlottesville. The win was Virginia's third in a season-long four-game winning streak.

Richmond native Colin Ducharme added 14 points (his career high at the time) and was joined in double digits by Jamal Robinson (12 points), Curtis Staples (12 points) and Chase Metheney (10 points). Norman Nolan led the Wahoos on the boards with eight rebounds.

Richmond out-rebounded the Cavaliers 35-33 and both teams had the same field goal percentage (.463), but the Spiders committed 19 turnovers to just five for UVa.

Virginia enjoyed an 11-point halftime lead (34-23), but Richmond chipped away early in the second half and cut the lead to seven points (38-31) with 16:12 left to play. The Cavaliers went on a 21-3 run in the next six-and-a-half minutes to push the lead to 25 points (59-34) en route to the win.

Virginia vs. In-State Teams
This is the first of seven games against in-state opponents this season for Virginia. The Cavaliers begin the season with three consecutive match-ups vs. teams from the Old Dominion. Following tonight's contest against Richmond, the Cavaliers host William & Mary on Wednesday (Nov. 19) and George Mason on Saturday (Nov. 22).

Virginia returns to the Robins Center to face Virginia Commonwealth on December 13 and hosts VMI on December 22. UVa plays Liberty at home on January 7 and meets Virginia Tech in its last game against a state opponent on January 12 at the Roanoke Civic Center.

UVa won all six games against state teams last season, defeating George Mason, Liberty, Radford, Richmond, Virginia Tech and William & Mary.

Since Jeff Jones arrived on the Grounds of the University as a first-yearman in 1978-79, the Cavaliers are 78-12 (.867) at all sites against in-state opponents. His record as head coach against state schools is 25-4 (.862).

Cavaliers Play Another Rare In-state Road Game

Virginia plays seven games against in-state schools this season, but the Richmond game is the only game on the state opponent's home court in 1997-98.

Virginia won at George Mason and at William & Mary last season. However, this is only the Cavaliers' seventh game on the home court of an in-state school since the 1989-90 season.

Since Jeff Jones arrived in Charlottesville as a freshman point guard in 1978-79, UVa is 12-3 on the home courts of in-state schools. This includes a 4-1 record as the Cavaliers' head coach.

Virginia's only loss on an in-state school's home court under Jones was a 76-69 setback to Old Dominion at Scope on December 11, 1993.

Rookie Starters Under Jones
Freshman Donald Hand started at point guard for Virginia in its two exhibition games, while classmate Chezley Watson was the first backcourt player off the bench in both games.

If either player starts against Richmond, he will become the first freshman to start for head coach Jeff Jones in two seasons. Courtney Alexander started the season opener two years ago against Tennessee-Martin.

Cory Alexander and Junior Burrough are the only other freshmen to start under Jones. The pair started the 1990-91 season opener against William & Mary.

Cavaliers Open Season
The Richmond game marks the beginning of the 93rd season of Virginia basketball. The Cavaliers are 73-19 (.793) all-time in season openers. The Cavaliers have won six of seven season openers under Jeff Jones and nine of their last 10 overall.

ACC Media Pick Virginia Eighth
The Cavaliers were selected to finish eighth in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season by media representatives attending the 36th annual ACC Operation Basketball in Greensboro, N.C., on October 26.

This season's predicted conference standings look like this (first-place votes in parenthesis):

1.  Duke (45)           730
2.  North Carolina (40) 727
3.  Clemson (2)         628
4.  Maryland            429
5.  N.C. State          391
6.  Wake Forest         335
7.  Florida State       324
8.  Virginia            177
9.  Georgia Tech        174

Three Starters Return for '97-98
The Cavaliers return three starters from last season--center Colin Ducharme, forward Norman Nolan and guard Curtis Staples.

Virginia also returns two other players who started at least five games last season--Monte Marcaccini and Chase Metheney.

Two others who averaged at least 10 minutes per game a year ago also return--Willie Dersch and Craig McAndrew.

Nolan Image
Forward Norman Nolan

Four Seniors Named Captains of '97-98 Squad
The four seniors--Mike Curtis, Pete McLaughlin, Norman Nolan and Curtis Staples--on the UVa men's basketball team will serve as captains for this season.

Curtis, from Richmond, Va., joined the team as a walk-on three years ago. He appeared in six games last season as a reserve guard.

Like Curtis, McLaughlin also joined the team as a walk-on. He played in nine games in 1996-97 as a reserve guard.

Nolan, a two-year starter, led the team in rebounding a year ago with a 7.4 rebounds per game average. He also scored a career-high 11.3 points per game last season.

Staples is Virginia's leading returning scorer this season. He averaged 13.9 points per game last season and led the Atlantic Coast Conference in three-point field goals per game (3.2). He is third in scoring among active ACC players (and 23rd on UVa's all-time list) with 1214 points.

Cavaliers Welcome Three Newcomers
The 1997-98 Virginia men's basketball team features three new faces. Joining 10 returning lettermen, including three returning starters, are Donald Hand, Greg Lyons and Chezley Watson.

Hand, a 5-11 guard from Paterson, N.J., averaged 19.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 9.2 assists as a senior last season at Paterson Catholic High School.

Lyons, a 6-4 guard from Mineola, N.Y., was a co-captain of the Holy Cross High School squad with current Cavalier Willie Dersch in 1995-96.

Watson, a 6-2 guard from Gainesville, Ga., averaged 30.0 points 5.9 rebounds and 6.6 assists as a senior last year at East Hall High School. He also plans to play baseball at UVa.

Staples Wins Gold Medal
Curtis Staples was a member of the USA's gold medal-winning squad at the World University Games in Italy this summer.

Staples averaged 10.0 points per game in six games as the Americans won the gold medal for the fifth consecutive time. He and Eastern Michigan's Earl Boykins (15.7 ppg) were the team's only players to average in double figures.

Staples came off the bench in the gold medal game against Canada and scored 12 points to spark the USA to a 72-64 win. He made four of seven shots from the field, including four of five from three-point range, grabbed four rebounds and blocked a shot in 19 minutes of action. His 19 points against Hong Kong was his high for the tournament.

New Court Installed at University Hall
For the first time in nearly 20 years, University Hall features a new playing surface. A new court was installed this summer to replace the old court that dated back to the days of Jeff Lamp. The old floor was put in prior to the 1978-79 season.

The new court was installed by R.L. Dresser, Inc., of Raleigh, N.C. It consists of nearly 14,000 square feet of hardwood maple from Wisconsin. The project, completed in mid-September, cost approximately $100,000.

Virginia's men's basketball teams compiled an overall record of 204-52 (.797) on the old floor, while the UVa women had an overall record of 244-31 (.887).

Stokes Returns to His Alma Mater
Ricky Stokes, an assistant coach at Wake Forest for the last eight years, returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach on Jeff Jones' staff on May 8.

Stokes, a 1984 UVa graduate, coached at Wake Forest under former UVa assistant coach Dave Odom from 1989-97. He was an assistant coach at Bowling Green in 1988-89 and a graduate assistant coach at UVa in 1985.

A native of Richmond, Va., Stokes was a four-year basketball letterman at Virginia. He played in two Final Fours (1981 and 1984), and received the Frances Pomeroy Naismith-Hall of Fame Award in 1984 as the nation's most outstanding senior male collegiate basketball player under six-feet tall. He was co-captain of the team during the 1983-84 season, lived on UVa's prestigious Lawn as a senior and played in a UVa record 134 games. Stokes shot 53.4 percent from the field and 76.3 percent from the free throw line during his UVa career, and is currently ranked seventh on the school's career steals list (140). During his four years in the Virginia program, the Cavaliers compiled an overall record of 109-25 (.813) and participated in four NCAA Tournaments.

Schedule Features 13 Home Games
Virginia's men's basketball schedule this season features 13 games at University Hall, three games at the University of Richmond's Robins Center and a trip to the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Cavaliers open the 1997-98 season with a non-conference game at the University of Richmond tonight. The game is one of three games Virginia is scheduled to play at Richmond's Robins Center.

The Cavaliers are scheduled to play three games, including one Atlantic Coast Conference game, in Richmond, Va., during each of the next four seasons as part of the NationsBank Virginia Challenge. In addition to the season opener, Virginia also plays VCU (Dec. 13) and Wake Forest (Jan. 4) at the Robins Center this season.

The Rainbow Classic is scheduled for December 27-30. UVa plays Nebraska in the first round of the tournament. The tournament field also includes Brigham Young, Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico State, Ohio State and Vanderbilt.

Virginia Wins with Defense
Virginia has built a reputation for outstanding defensive play over the last 20 years and last season continued the pattern.

The Cavaliers allowed an average of 65.0 points per game and held the opposition to 40.9 percent field goal shooting. Twelve times last season opponents shot less than 38 percent from the field. The Cavaliers held the opposition under 40 percent 15 times.

Virginia's opponents have shot 50 percent or better from the field in only 13 of the last 162 games dating back to the 1991-92 season.

Virginia's defensive statistics under head coach Jeff Jones are listed below.

Year            FG% D   PPG allowed
1990-91          .442          68.5
1991-92          .424          65.2
1992-93          .405          69.3
1993-94          .394          65.7
1994-95          .390          66.8
1995-96          .394          68.8
1996-97          .409          65.0
Jones' career    .409          67.0

Shooting, Rebounding, Defense Make a Difference
Conventional baseball wisdom says it takes pitching and defense to win. For Virginia's basketball program it has been a combination of shooting, rebounding and defense that has led to wins recently. The Cavaliers did not shoot the ball particularly well a year ago, but when they outshot the opposition they were 15-4.

When the Cavaliers did well on the boards last season they also increased their chances to win. They out-rebounded the opposition by an average of 4.9 rebounds per game in wins and were out-rebounded by 3.2 rebounds in losses.

Virginia's performance during the 1996-97 season in wins vs. losses in several relevant categories is below.

              UVa wins    UVa losses
UVa FG%           46.5          37.6
UVa 3FG%          39.9          31.4
UVa reb./g        38.2          35.5
UVa reb. margin   +4.9          -3.2
UVa assists/g     13.9          10.5
Opp. FG%          38.7          44.0
Opp. TO/g         13.2          10.5

Three-Point Attack Ties Record
The Cavaliers connected on 36.2 percent of their three-point field goal attempts last season, tying the school record for three-point percentage. Additionally, they made 205 treys, the second-highest total in school history. (The 1994-95 squad holds both records with 232 three-pointers made and a 36.2 percentage).

Virginia has made at least one three-point field goal in a school-record 156 consecutive games. The last time the Cavaliers failed to make at least one three-pointer came against New Mexico in the 1992 NIT.

Ducharme Hits His Shots
Center Colin Ducharme made himself into one of the ACC's top freshmen last season. A rugged inside player, Ducharme worked his way into the starting line-up in the season's ninth game and became a valuable contributor on both ends of the floor for the Cavaliers.

A smart player, Ducharme cashed in more often than not when he took a shot. His 55.7 field goal percentage was second among all ACC rookies regardless of number of shots taken.

Additionally, his field goal percentage is the best by a Cavalier with at least 75 attempts since 1985-86. (Olden Polynice shot 57.2 percent that season.)

His field goal percentage is among the best in school history by a freshman. All Cavalier rookies who have made at least 50 percent of their shots, based on at least 100 attempts, are below.

    Player, year            FG Pct.
1.  Jimmy Miller, 1981-82     57.7
2.  Wally Walker, 1972-73     56.2
3.  Colin Ducharme, 1996-97   55.7
4.  Olden Polynice, 1983-84   55.1
5.  Bryant Stith, 1988-89     54.8
6.  Ralph Sampson, 1979-80    54.7
7.  Jeff Jones, 1978-79       54.5
8.  Otis Fulton, 1975-76      54.3
9.  Mel Kennedy, 1984-85      51.5

Nolan Provides Strength to Inside Game
Senior Norman Nolan is one of two returning Cavaliers who averaged double figures last season. The Baltimore, Md., native averaged a career-high 11.3 points per game and is expected to provide a strong presence down low for the Cavaliers again this season.

Nolan averaged 7.4 rebounds per game in 1996-97, seventh in the ACC. He is the third-leading rebounder among returning ACC players this season.

He led the team in rebounding 18 times and in scoring eight times in 1996-97. His six "double doubles" were a team-leading figure.

Staples Posts Three of Top Four Seasons
Curtis Staples is known primarily for his long-range shooting ability. He set a school record with 103 three-point field goals as a freshman in 1994-95 and came close to topping that last season with 98 treys.

He has led the ACC in three-point field goals per game each of the last three years, averaging a career-high 3.2 three-pointers per game last season.

Staples has three of the top four season performances in school history. A look at UVa's single-season three-point field goals made list is below.

Player, year                 3FGM
1.  Curtis Staples, 1994-95   103
2.  Curtis Staples, 1996-97    98
3.  Curtis Staples, 1995-96    82
    Richard Morgan, 1988-89    82

Ducharme Among ACC's Best Frosh in '97
Richmond-native Colin Ducharme wasn't the most highly sought after player in Virginia's first-year class last season. Scuttlebutt even had mentioned the possibility of him red-shirting to prepare for the rigors of college basketball.

But he didn't red-shirt. Instead he became Virginia's starting center early in the season and continued the Cavaliers' tradition of rugged inside players.

Ducharme led the team with 41 blocked shots (sixth in ACC, 1.3 bpg). He also finished fourth on the team in rebounding (4.4) and averaged 5.5 points per game.

His 41 blocked shots are second-most by a freshman in school history. (Ralph Sampson holds the record of 157 in 1979-80.) Ducharme's 41 blocked shots are eighth most in a season by a Cavalier.

His place among ACC rookies (averaging at least eight minutes of action per game) in several statistical categories last season is below. Please note that no ACC rookie qualified for the league's field goal percentage leaders.

Category         Avg.    ACC Rookie Rank
Off. reb/g       2.0            2       
Blocked shots     41            2
FG%             55.7            2
Starts            22           T2
Reb/g            4.4            3
Min./g          19.7            5
Pts/g            5.5           T5

Cavaliers Split Two Exhibition Contests
Virginia gained a split in its two preseason exhibition contests--defeating the Court Authority 74-72 on November 5 and losing to the Australian National Team 70-59 last Sunday (Nov. 9).

UVa rallied from a 10-point deficit with under 12 minutes to play in the win over the Court Authority, a team of former college players living in the Richmond area.

Curtis Staples led the Cavaliers in scoring with 23 points, connecting on five of ten three point attempts. Willie Dersch made eight of 11 shots from the floor and scored 20 points. Norman Nolan added 18 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Court Authority built a 10-point lead (57-47) with 11:52 remaining, but the Cavaliers fought back, breaking a 70-70 tie on Chase Metheney's free throw.

Last Sunday, UVa dropped a 70-59 decision to the Australian National Team.

The Australians built a 61-51 lead with 4:14 to play. The Cavaliers made a late run, but could only close within five points after Staples made one of two free throws to make it 61-56 with 2:03 to play. That would be the closest Virginia would come, as the Australian team went on a 9-3 run to end the game.

Staples finished with 24 points, on seven of 17 three-point shooting. Freshman Chezley Watson provided a spark as he collected 10 points, dished out five assists and recorded three steals. Norman Nolan finished with 12 points and two rebounds. Chase Metheney added eight points and eight rebounds in the loss for the Cavaliers.

Television: Tonight's game will be televised by HTS. George Johnson and Chris Knoche are the announcers.

Radio: All UVa games are heard on the Virginia Sports Network originating at WINA/WQMZ in Charlottesville. Mac MacDonald calls the play by play. Jim Hobgood provides the analysis.