Dec. 5, 1997
Virginia Set to Challenge Top-Ranked Blue Devils
- Virginia at Duke
- December 6, 1997
- 2:00 p.m.
- Cameron Indoor Stadium
- Durham, N.C.
Virginia (1997-98 record: 4-1 overall) faces top-ranked Duke
(1997-98 record: 7-0 overall) in the first ACC game of the
season for both teams. Tip off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
Virginia head coach Jeff Jones. (File Photo)
Television: Today's game is being televised on the
Raycom/Jefferson-Pilot ACC network. Tim Brando is the play by
play announcer and Dan Bonner is the color analyst.
Radio: All UVa games are heard on the Virginia Sports
Network originating at WINA/WQMZ in Charlottesville. Mac
McDonald calls the play by play. Jim Hobgood provides the
The Series vs. the Blue Devils
Duke leads the all-time series with the Cavaliers 88-45. The
Blue Devils have dominated the series in recent years, winning
24 of the last 32 meetings since Ralph Sampson's graduation
from Virginia in 1983.
Virginia has had much better success against Duke in the
1990's, winning eight of the 17 games this decade. The
Cavaliers have also won six of the last 11 meetings between the
Playing in front of the "Cameron Crazies" has been difficult
for UVa as the Wahoos are 8-37 against Duke at Cameron.
All-time Virginia is 10-42 on Duke's various home courts
through the years.
The Blue Devils swept the season series last season--winning
78-59 in Durham and 62-61 in Charlottesville.
Cavaliers Face the Nation's Top-Ranked Team
Virginia opens its ACC schedule this afternoon against
top-ranked Duke. The Blue Devils are the first ranked team the
Cavaliers have faced so far this season.
Last season the Cavaliers faced two ranked teams in their first
three games--#17 Massachusetts and #2 Kansas in the Maui
Invitational in Hawaii.
This is the 17th time the Cavaliers have played the #1 team in
the nation and the first time in four seasons.
Virginia's last game against the #1 team was a 75-56 loss to
North Carolina in the semifinals of the 1993 ACC Tournament in
The Cavaliers have not fared well against top-ranked teams,
posting a 1-15 all-time record. Virginia's lone win over the #1
team was an 86-73 win over North Carolina in Charlottesville on
January 30, 1986.
Virginia has faced Duke five times when the Blue Devils were
ranked number one and have lost all five.
Virginia's 77-69 win over #3 Duke on Jan. 17, 1993 is the
highest ranked team the Cavaliers have ever beaten on the road.
A look at Virginia's games against Duke when the Blue Devils
were ranked #1 is below.
Date Site Result
Dec. 18, 1965 UVa Duke, 75-72
March 8, 1986 Greensboro, N.C. (ACC Trn.) Duke, 75-70
Jan. 7, 1989 UVa Duke, 84-76
Jan. 2, 1992 UVa Duke, 68-62
Feb. 26, 1992 Duke Duke, 76-67
Better Shooting Wins
Both Virginia and Duke are known for their outstanding play on
the defensive end of the floor. As you might expect, the recent
history of the Virginia/Duke series suggests that the team that
shoots the ball best will win the game.
The two teams have met 15 times in the last seven years (the
time Jeff Jones has been Virginia's head coach). In that span
the team that has shot the ball best has won 12 times.
Duke shot 52.0 percent in last season's first meeting, the
second-best percentage allowed by UVa all season. Virginia
out-shot the Blue Devils in last season's second meeting 43.6
percent to 35.0 percent, but Duke pulled out a controversial
A look at the two teams' field goal percentages over the last
seven seasons is below.
Year/Site UVa Duke
UVa .485 .375
Duke .424 .500
UVa .431 .436
Duke .484 .517
Duke .412 .368
UVa .368 .359
UVa .373 .462
Duke .288 .525
ACC Trn. .441 .362
Duke .492 .443
UVa .373 .407
UVa .510 .348
Duke .417 .404
Duke .385 .520
UVa .436 .350
Last 7 years:
Combined .419 .428
UVa wins .439 .379
UVa losses .403 .464
Cavaliers Face First Ranked Team of Season
The ACC has a record seven teams ranked in the current
Associated Press poll (everybody except Virginia and N.C.
Today's game against Duke is the first of what should be many
games against ranked teams for Virginia this season.
The Cavaliers were 3-10 against AP-ranked teams last season
(with wins against #17 UMass, #13 North Carolina and #16
The highest ranked opponent Virginia has ever beaten on the
road was #3 Duke (77-69) on January 17, 1993.
Cavaliers Open ACC Play Today
Virginia opens its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule today
against Duke. Duke was Virginia's traditional ACC opener for
many years during the 1970's and '80s. In fact, the Cavaliers
started vs. Duke for 12 consecutive seasons from 1981-92. This
is the first time the Cavaliers have tipped off their ACC
schedule against the Blue Devils since the 1991-92 season.
The Cavaliers have lost their conference opener the last two
seasons, both at home. Clemson handed the Cavaliers a 62-52
loss in Charlottesville in last year's ACC opener.
All-time Virginia is 19-25 in ACC openers. The Cavaliers are
8-11 against Duke, 3-1 vs. Florida State, 1-0 vs. Georgia Tech,
1-7 vs. Maryland, 0-3 vs. North Carolina, 0-1 vs. Clemson and
N.C. State, 5-1 vs. Wake Forest and 1-0 vs. South Carolina in
Norman Nolan has scored at least 13 points in every game this season. (File Photo)
Four Reach Double Figures in Win
Norman Nolan and Curtis Staples have generally carried the
scoring load for Virginia so far this season. They are the only
Cavaliers averaging more than eight points per game. Nolan has
scored at least 13 points in every game, while Staples has
scored at least 15 in every game but one (eight points vs.
Nolan and Staples were the only players in double figures in
the first two games this season--a loss to Richmond and a win
over William & Mary.
In those two games Nolan and Staples scored 89 of UVa's 138
points (64.5 percent).
In the three games since then, they have been joined in double
digits by several other players.
Monte Marcaccini scored a season-high 12 points off the bench
in helping lift Virginia to a 60-45 win over George Mason.
As the season progresses, more players are rounding their
offensive games into form.
Four Cavaliers reached double figures in the win over Delaware
11 days ago. Staples and Nolan were their usual selves scoring
19 and 14 points, respectively, and were joined in the scoring
parade by Colin Ducharme and Donald Hand. Ducharme chipped in
11 points and Hand 10 as both reached the 10-point plateau for
the fist time this season.
Appalachian State held Staples in check with just eight points,
but Nolan and Ducharme picked up the slack. Nolan scored 17
points, while Ducharme pumped in a season-best 14 points.
Ducharme missed his career high by one point.
One concern for head coach Jeff Jones and his staff is the
heavy reliance on Nolan and Staples to provide the scoring. The
Cavaliers have not had a starter other than those two score in
double digits yet this season.
Going for Fifth Consecutive Win
The Cavaliers shoot to win their fifth consecutive game this
afternoon against top-ranked Duke.
After opening the season with a double overtime loss to
Richmond, the Cavaliers have reeled off four wins in a row by
downing William & Mary, George Mason, Delaware and Appalachian
This is Virginia's longest winning streak since winning four
straight (Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Richmond, Florida State)
between January 22-February 1 last season.
Virginia hasn't had a five-game winning streak since putting
together a seven-game run in February of 1995 (Florida State
through Georgia Tech games).
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,
starting Watson at point guard. Watson has stayed in the
starting line-up since that game by starting against George
Mason, Delaware and Appalachian State.
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.
Watson Starts Last Four at the Point
Chezley Watson, one of two freshmen point guards on this year's
team, has started the last four games--all Virginia wins.
He made his first start against William & Mary on November 19
and scored seven points and dished off four assists in 21
Watson led the team with seven assists in the 60-45 win over
George Mason two weeks ago. He added six points and pulled down
four rebounds in his 32 minutes.
He played just 15 minutes in Virginia's win over Delaware 11
days ago as Donald Hand had the hot scoring touch, but still
tied for the team lead with four assists.
Watson was hurt by several turnovers early against Appalachian
State and played just 10 minutes, scoring two points.
Prior to the Appalachian State game, Watson had at least four
assists in every game. He has led the team in assists three
times this season with a high of seven against George Mason.
Staples 27th Player in NCAA History to 300
Curtis Staples is known as one of the top three-point shooters
in the nation. So far this season he is living up to his
reputation by averaging 4.0 three-pointers per game with 20
treys in five games.
He has led the Cavaliers in scoring in two of the last three
games and has topped the 20-point plateau twice this season.
Staples began the season by connecting on seven of 15
three-point attempts and scoring 26 points in the opener
He came back less than a week later against George Mason by
hitting five of eight shots from behind the arc and finishing
with a game-high 23 points.
Staples paced the Wahoos with 19 points against Delaware and
was true on three shots behind the arc. He became just the 27th
player in NCAA history to make 300 career three-pointers with
his three against the Blue Hens.
He fell off a bit last Tuesday against Appalachian State,
scoring a season-low eight points. Happily for the Cavaliers,
Colin Ducharme (14 points), Donald Hand (eight points) and
Monte Marcaccini (seven points) picked up the scoring slack.
The ACC leader in three-point field goals made the last three
seasons, Staples is 23rd in NCAA history for career
three-pointers (303) and 22nd in three-point attempts (795).
A look at Staples' place on the NCAA career three-point list is
Player, school, years 3FGM
19. Tom Pipkins, Duquesne, 1994-97 311
20. Scott Hartzell, UNC-Greensboro, 1993-96 309
21. Henry Williams, UNC Charlotte, 1989-92 308
22. Darnell Burton, Cincinnati, '93-94, '96-97 306
23. Curtis Staples, Virginia, 1995-98 303
Colin Ducharme has been a solid contributor off the bench for the Cavs. (File Photo)
Bench Plays Big Role in Recent Wins
Virginia hasn't gotten a whole lot of production out of its
bench so far this season, but the bench has contributed to wins
in the last two games--over Delaware and Appalachian State.
Colin Ducharme came off the bench against Delaware and turned
in a solid performance to help the Cavaliers down the
homestanding Blue Hens.
Ducharme scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds as Virginia
won a tight contest 64-57.
Ducharme played another key role in the 62-54 win over
Appalachian State. He scored 14 points and hauled in a
career-high 11 rebounds in just 23 minutes.
Donald Hand also turned in perhaps his best game against the
Mountaineers with a career-high eight assists and eight points.
He also snatched four rebounds and made three steals.
Hand's performance was his second fine performance in a row. He
scored 10 points and had five rebounds against Delaware in the
game right before Appalachian State.
The bench's production recently is shown below.
FGs Rebs. Pts. Ast. Stls. Min.
Delaware 7-18 14 21 3 3 65
App. State 11-20 21 29 10 4 77
Last 2 avg. 47.4% 17.5 25.0 6.5 3.5 71.0
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
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).
George Mason couldn't muster much on the offensive end two
weeks ago in Virginia's 60-45 win. The Patriots shot just 30.9
percent from the field and committed 23 turnovers.
Virginia's defensive clamps remained firm in the 64-57 win at
Delaware as the Cavaliers held the Blue Hens to just 29.0
percent field goal shooting.
Appalachian State shot 39.0 percent, the highest by a Virginia
opponent, the last time out. The Mountaineers shot 43.8 percent
in the first half to hold a tight 32-31 halftime lead. But the
Cavaliers turned up the defensive heat in the second half,
holding the visitors from North Carolina to just 33.3 percent
shooting in the final 20 minutes and won 62-54.
Virginia's opponents have shot 50 percent or better from the
field in only 13 of the last 167 games dating back to the
Virginia's defensive statistics under head coach Jeff Jones are
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 .322 56.8
Jones' career .407 66.8
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 6.4 rebounding average. His average should
come as no surprise as his 4.6 rpg mark was second among ACC
guards last season.
He tied his career high with a team-leading nine caroms against
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
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 and scoring
three times each.
He was a one-man wrecking crew for the Cavaliers in their loss
to Richmond in the season opener 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" against
William & Mary, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
He posted his third consecutive "double double" against George
Mason with 13 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.
Saddled with early foul trouble against Delaware, Nolan scored
14 points and grabbed four rebounds in only 18 minutes of play.
He scored two important baskets in the closing minutes to help
the Cavaliers hold off the homestanding Blue Hens.
He returned to the "double double" column with a game-high 17
points and 10 rebounds to help the Cavaliers down Appalachian
State 62-54 in their most recent contest.
Nolan is averaging 18.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this
season, while shooting 55.9 percent from the field.
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
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 in the season's second
game. 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
Dersch is averaging only 5.0 points per game, but leads the
team with 20 assists.
He has played 191 of a possible 210 minutes so far this season.