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UVA's Curtis Staples is one of the leading three-point shooters in the nation.
Nov. 25, 1997

Cavaliers Play at Delaware

Virginia at Delaware
DATE: November 25, 1997
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
SITE: Bob Carpenter Center Acierno Arena Newark, Del.

The Series vs. Delaware
Virginia holds an 8-1 lead in the series against Delaware and has won the last seven games in the series. Despite the fact the series is only nine games old, the Blue Hens are a long-time opponent for the Cavaliers. The series began in Charlottesville on February 21, 1921, with Virginia winning 26-22.

Nearly 41 years passed before the two teams met again. Delaware got its lone win in the series with an 89-88 win on January 29, 1962 in Charlottesville.

The rivalry took another 14-year break before the teams resumed play. Virginia got back on the winning track against the Blue Hens with a 78-65 win in Charlottesville during the 1975-76 season.

That was the first of six consecutive seasons the two teams met, with Virginia winning all six games. Virginia won both games played in Newark (1978, 1981).

The series resumed again last season after a 16-year hiatus with Virginia winning 76-66 in Charlottesville. Curtis Staples poured in a career-high 30 points , including seven three pointers, to pace Virginia. Harold Deane added 18 points and Courtney Alexander 15. Monte Marcaccini had an odd stat line with a team-leading 11 rebounds, but no points.

Delaware shot better than Virginia from the field (39.4 percent to 38.1 percent) and out-rebounded the Cavaliers 49 to 40. Some of the factors enabling Virginia to win were cutting down on turnovers and making shots from behind the arc. The Cavaliers had just 10 turnovers (vs. 17 for the Blue Hens) and made 12 three-point baskets (to Delaware's four).

It is interesting to note that Delaware is one of just 21 schools to have played on all three of the Cavaliers' home courts over the years. Fayerweather Hall served as the initial home floor for Virginia basketball. Built in 1893, it housed the Cavaliers from the initial season in 1906 through the 1922-23 season. Memorial Gymnasium replaced Fayerweather as home of the Cavalier cagers for the 1923-24 season. It was home for Virginia for over 40 years until University Hall opened for the 1965-66 season.

Cavaliers vs. The America East Conference
This is Virginia's lone game of the season against a school from the America East conference (formerly known as the North Atlantic Conference). The Cavaliers are 15-3 all-time against the 10 teams currently in the America East.

Virginia is 4-0 vs. Towson State, 1-0 vs. Hartford and Northeastern, 8-1 vs. Delaware and 1-2 vs. Hofstra. The Cavaliers have never faced Boston University, Drexel, Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont.

Cavaliers vs. Non-Conference Teams
Virginia ventures out of state for the first time tonight to play at Delaware in its second road game of the season.

The Cavaliers lost their season opener at Richmond 83-79 in double overtime nine days ago in the Spiders' Robins Center.

Virginia has not had outstanding success on non-conference opponents' home courts the last few years. Last season the Cavaliers won two of three games at non-conference opponents' home arenas, the first time they managed to win more than half their road non-conference games since the 1992-93 season.

Since Jeff Jones took over the Virginia program for the 1990-91 season, the Cavaliers are 12-9 on non-conference opponents home courts.

A year-by-year look at UVa's record on non-conference foes' home courts under Jones is below.

1990-91 4-0
1991-92 1-3
1992-93 2-0
1993-94 1-2
1994-95 1-1
1995-96 1-1 (includes UConn game at Hartford)
1996-97 2-1
1997-98 0-1
Total   12-9

Two Freshmen Split Point Guard Duties
Head coach Jeff Jones has had a succession of rookie point guards in his eight years at the helm of the Cavalier program. The last two players to see significant action at point guard for Virginia both started as freshmen--Cory Alexander and Harold Deane. This season alone has seen the Cavaliers start two different freshmen point guards--Donald Hand and Chezley Watson.

Hand won the preseason battle with Watson for the starting nod at point guard and started the season opener against Richmond on November 16.

Jones shuffled the line-up a bit for the William & Mary game last Wednesday, starting Watson at point guard. Watson started his second consecutive game against George Mason last Saturday.

Alexander took over the reins for John Crotty as a freshman in 1991-92, Jones' second season as Virginia's head coach, and helped lead the Cavaliers to the NIT championship.

When Alexander broke his ankle in the opener of the 1993-94 season, Deane immediately stepped into the line-up and started 27 of 31 games that season.

An historical footnote shows that Jones started 13 games at point guard as a Cavalier freshman in 1978-79.

Norman Nolan has played strong inside for the Cavs.

Nolan Paces Cavaliers in Early Going
Senior forward Norman Nolan has been Virginia's primary inside scorer for the last three years.

He led the team in scoring on eight occasions last season, the third-best mark on the team.

So far this season he's displaying a strong inside game on both ends of the court, leading the team in rebounding in all three games and in scoring twice.

He was a one-man wrecking crew for the Cavaliers in their loss to Richmond on November 16. He scored a career-high 31 points, including one stretch where he scored 19 consecutive points for the Cavaliers. He also recorded his 11th career "double double" by pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds.

He turned in his second consecutive "double double" last Wednesday night against William & Mary, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

He posted his third consecutive "double double" last Saturday against George Mason with 13 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

If he gets a "double double" tonight against Delaware, he would be the first Cavalier to post four consecutive "double doubles" since Brent Dabbs had four in a row late in the 1988-89 season (VMI, Clemson, Georgia Tech, N.C. State).

Nolan is averaging 20.3 points and 12.7 rebounds per game this season, while shooting 56.5 percent from the field.

Staples Moves Up NCAA Three-Point List
Curtis Staples is known as one of the top three-point shooters in the nation. He displayed an accurate shooting eye against Richmond by hitting seven of 15 three-point attempts and finishing with 26 points on November 16.

His 15 three-point attempts tied the school record, while the seven made three-pointers is the second-highest total of his career. (He also had a seven for 15 performance against Delaware last season.)

He was on the mark again last Saturday against George Mason hitting five of eight shots from behind the arc and finishing with a game-high 23 points.

The ACC leader in three-point field goals made the last three seasons, Staples is 28th in NCAA history for career three-pointers (298) and is tied for 25th in history for three-point attempts (778).

He needs two threes to become just the 27th player in NCAA history to make at least 300 in a career.

Watson Starts Last Two at the Point
Chezley Watson, one of two freshmen point guards on this year's team, has started the last two games--both Virginia wins.

He made his first start last Wednesday against William & Mary and scored seven points and dished off four assists in 21 minutes.

Watson led the team with seven assists in the 60-45 win over George Mason last Saturday. He added six points and pulled down four rebounds in his 32 minutes.

He has had at least four assists in every game this season and has led the team in that category in his two starts.

A look at Watson game-by-game is below.

Opponent    Pts.    Rebs.   Asts.   Minutes
Richmond    2       4       4       34
W&M         7       2       4       21
Geo. Mason  6       4       7       32

Staples off to Fast Start
Curtis Staples poured in 26 points in the loss to Richmond in the season opener nine days ago. He made nine of 18 field goal attempts, including seven of 15 from behind the arc.

He followed that with 15 points in the win over William & Mary last Wednesday and tossed in a game-high 23 points against George Mason last Saturday.

He leads the team in scoring so far this season, averaging 21.3 ppg.

The sharpshooter from Roanoke has typically been a slow starter, not reaching the 20-point plateau until deep into the season.

Last season he didn't hit 20 points until he scored 20 against Radford in the 10th game of the season.

Two years ago he waited until the 14th game of the year to score 20 against Georgia Tech.

As a freshman in 1994-95 he reached 20 points once. He scored 27 points in a win over UNLV in the 22nd game of the season.

Dersch Playing Lots of Minutes
Willie Dersch came to Virginia a year ago as one of the nation's top recruits. With the Cavaliers featuring several experienced players at his position, he didn't get a lot of playing time last season, averaging 13.4 minutes per game in his 28 appearances.

This season things have changed dramatically for the 6-5 swingman from Floral Park, N.Y. He made the first start of his career in the season opener against Richmond and played a fine game.

He scored nine points, grabbed six rebounds and led the team with five assists in 47 minutes of play.

Dersch tied Chezley Watson for game-high honors with four assists in UVa's win over William & Mary last Wednesday. Dersch also added eight points and six rebounds in 31 minutes of action.

He didn't score against George Mason, but contributed four assists and three rebounds in the game. His excellent work on the defensive end of the floor helped hold the Patriots to 30.9 percent shooting.

Dersch has played 117 of a possible 130 minutes in Virginia's three games this season.

Nolan and Staples Provide Scoring Punch
As Virginia's leading returning scorers, it is no surprise that Norman Nolan and Curtis Staples have carried the scoring load this season.

Nolan scored a career-high 31 points to lead UVa against Richmond in the season opener on November 16. He paced the Cavaliers again with 17 points vs. William & Mary last Wednesday and scored 13 points in UVa's win over George Mason on Saturday. Nolan is second on the team with a 20.3 ppg average.

Staples tossed in 26 points against Richmond and 15 vs. William & Mary. He connected on five three-pointers and scored a game-high 23 points in the win over George Mason three days ago and leads the team with a 20.3 ppg average.

Between them they have scored almost two-thirds of Virginia's points this season (125 of 198).

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.

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.

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. McLaughlin saw his first action this season last Wednesday night against William & Mary and scored one point.

Nolan, a two-year starter, led the team in rebounding a year ago with a 7.4 rebounds per game average. He also averaged a career-high 11.3 points per game last season. This season he leads the team in rebounding (12.7 rpg) and is second in scoring (20.3 ppg).

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 17th on UVa's all-time list) with 1278 points.

Through three games this season, Staples is Virginia's leading scorer with an average of 21.3 points per game.

Cavalier Duo Tops 25
Norman Nolan scored a career-high 31 points and Curtis Staples added 26 in Virginia's 83-79 double overtime loss to Richmond on November 16.

This marks the first time in three seasons that UVa had two players top 25 points in the same game. The last time this occurred, Harold Deane scored 28 and Staples 27 as Virginia defeated UNLV on February 12, 1995.

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.

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.

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.

Richmond scored 83 points in downing the Cavaliers in the season opener, but shot just 33.3 percent from the field.

As good as the Cavaliers' field goal percentage defense was against Richmond, it was even better against William & Mary three days later. The Tribe scored just 45 points, while shooting 28.8 percent from the field.

The Tribe's field goal shooting was the worst percentage by a Virginia opponent in 23 games, dating back to last season's Radford contest (27.9 percent).

William & Mary's field goal percentage is the 15th-lowest mark in Virginia history.

George Mason couldn't muster much on the offensive end last Saturday in Virginia's 60-45 win. The Patriots shot just 30.9 percent from the field and committed 23 turnovers.

Virginia's opponents have shot 50 percent or better from the field in only 13 of the last 165 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
1997-98         .311    57.7
Jones' career   .407    66.9

Marcaccini Tops Double Digits
Junior Monte Marcaccini came off the bench last Saturday against George Mason and gave Virginia a big lift. Inserted for Chase Metheney as the Cavaliers went to a smaller line-up early in the game, Marcaccini responded with 12 points and four rebounds in the best performance of his Virginia career.

A transfer two years ago from Pepperdine, Marcaccini is known for his tough defensive play and rebounding prowess. He had several games last season with more rebounds than points, including an 11-rebound, no points effort against Delaware.

His 12 points last Saturday are the most he's scored at Virginia and the most he's scored since getting 20 points against Saint Mary's while at Pepperdine--a span of 27 appearances for him.

Staples Works on the Boards
Curtis Staples has a well-deserved reputation as one of the nation's top long-range shooters, but an overlooked aspect of his game is his rebounding ability.

Standing just 6-3, Staples is second on the team in rebounding this season with a 5.7 rebounding average. His average should come as no surprise as his 4.6 rpg mark was second among ACC guards last season.

He pulled down a season-high seven rebounds against William & Mary last Wednesday.

Last season he tied his career high with nine rebounds against Delaware. In that game he tossed in a career-best 30 points and was true on seven of 15 three-point attempts.

In the last 30 years, Cornel Parker is the only Cavalier perimeter player to average more than five rebounds per game in a season. A 6-7 swingman, Parker averaged 6.9 boards per game in 1992-93.


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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.

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