Dec. 9, 1997

Virginia Tackles the Huskies

Virginia vs. Connecticut
December 10, 1997   
7:30 p.m.
University Hall
Charlottesville, Va.
The Series vs. Connecticut

Connecticut holds a 5-2 lead in the series between the two schools, with the Huskies winning the last four games.

This is Connecticut's third trip to Charlottesville and the Huskies have yet to lose. They defeated the Cavaliers 68-61 in 1988-89 and handed the Cavaliers a 77-36 loss to open the 1993-94 season. That loss is Virginia's worst non-conference loss ever at University Hall.

Tonight's meeting is the final game in a four-game series that has stretched over the last five seasons. Virginia is surely glad to see the series end as Connecticut has won the first three games, including two by big margins. Connecticut won 77-36 in Charlottesville four years ago, 76-46 in Hartford, Conn., during the 1995-96 season, and 64-61 in overtime in Storrs, Conn., last season.

Overall the Huskies have won the last four meetings dating back to a 68-61 win in Charlottesville during the 1988-89 season.

1997-98 Schedule & Results
N. 16   at Richmond         L   79-83 (2ot)
N. 19   William & Mary      W   59-45
N. 22   George Mason        W   60-45
N. 25   at Delaware         W   64-57
D. 2    Appalachian State   W   62-54   
D. 6    at Duke             L   59-103
D. 10   Connecticut         7:30 p.m.
D. 13   VCU (Robins Center) 7:30 p.m.
D. 22   VMI                 7:30 p.m.

    Rainbow Classic
D. 27   Nebraska            10:30 p.m.
D. 29   Second Round        TBA
D. 30   Third Round         TBA

J. 4    Wake Forest (Robins Ctr.)   1:00 p.m.
J. 7    Liberty                     7:30 p.m.
J. 10   at North Carolina           1:30 p.m.
J. 12   Virginia Tech (Roanoke)     7:00 p.m.
J. 15   Georgia Tech                8:00 p.m.
J. 18   N.C. State                  1:30 p.m.
J. 20   at Clemson                  8:00 p.m.
J. 24   Duke                        Noon
J. 27   at Wake Forest              8:00 p.m.

F. 1    at Maryland         4:00 p.m.
F. 4    Florida State       7:30 p.m.
F. 11   North Carolina      9:00 p.m.
F. 14   at Georgia Tech     Noon
F. 18   at N.C. State       7:00 p.m.
F. 21   Clemson             1:30 p.m.
F. 24   Maryland            9:00 p.m.
F. 28   at Florida State    4:00 p.m.
M. 5-8  ACC Tournament      Greensboro, N.C.

Virginia (1997-98 record: 4-2 overall/0-1 in the ACC) hosts #13 Connecticut (1997-98 record: 7-1 overall/2-0 in the Big East) in the final game of a four-game series tonight at University Hall. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Television:
Tonight's game is being televised back to Connecticut. John Sanders is the play by play announcer and Bob Wentzel 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 analysis.

Virginia vs. The Big East

The Cavaliers are 42-39 (.519) against the 13 schools in the Big East conference. Most of the games occurred prior to a school's membership in the Big East.

In all games against the current membership of the Big East, Virginia is 3-0 vs. Boston College, 1-0 vs. Rutgers, 5-1 vs. Notre Dame, 4-1 vs. Villanova, 7-3 vs. Pittsburgh, 2-1 vs. Providence, 8-8 vs. West Virginia, 1-1 vs. Syracuse, 9-11 vs. Georgetown, 2-5 vs. Connecticut, 0-4 vs. St. John's, and 0-2 against Miami (Fla.) and Seton Hall.

Virginia was the only ACC school to win all three games in the defunct ACC-Big East Challenge held from 1989-91. (Syracuse was the only Big East school to win all three games in the challenge).

Connecticut Defies the Odds at University Hall

Virginia has won nearly 88 percent of its non-conference games at University Hall since the building opened for the 1965-66 season. The Cavaliers have won 12 consecutive non-conference home games over the last three seasons. Overall they have won 44 of their last 48 home games against non-conference opponents dating back to 1990-91.

Given the long odds of winning at University Hall, Connecticut has had remarkable success, winning on both trips to Charlottesville.

The Huskies are one of only three non-ACC teams to have won more than once at University Hall, joining Old Dominion and Richmond.

Connecticut is also one of only three opponents that have played in Charlottesville more than once that has a winning record on the Cavaliers' home court. Connecticut and Camp Lee are both 2-0 in Charlottesville, while St. John's College in Maryland is 3-2.

Opponents Shoot Blanks at University Hall

Virginia is 26-4 against non-conference opponents at University Hall over the last five seasons. Among the reasons the Cavaliers have been so successful in non-conference games is their ability to out-shoot and out-rebound the other team.

In their wins, the Cavaliers have shot 45.0 percent from the field compared to 36.1 percent for the opposition. Virginia also out-rebounds the other team by more than 10 rebounds per game (45.6/g to 34.0/g).

In contrast, the tables are turned in Virginia's home losses. The opponents shoot much better than Virginia (40.5 percent vs. 33.3 percent) and out-rebound the Cavaliers by a wide margin (49.5/g to 34.0/g).

The two highest shooting percentages by non-conference opponents on Virginia's home floor the last five seasons have come in Virginia losses. Ohio shot 47.4 percent from the floor in a 94-83 win during the 1994-95 season, while Connecticut shot 46.3 percent in winning the 1993-94 season opener.

Only eight of the last 30 non-conference opponents to come to University Hall have managed to make more than 40 percent of their field goal attempts.

Non-Conference Teams at University Hall

Virginia is 121-10 (.924) at home against non-conference opponents since Jeff Jones came to UVa as a freshman in 1978-79.

The Cavaliers were 6-0 at home against non-conference opponents last season. They ran their home non-conference winning streak to 12 consecutive games with a 62-54 win over Appalachian State eight days ago. The last home court loss to a non-conference team was a 61-48 loss to Vanderbilt on December 5, 1995.

Under Jeff Jones' direction the Cavaliers are 44-5 (.898) at U-Hall against non-conference teams.

The Cavaliers have won 44 of their last 48 home games against non-conference opponents dating back to Jones' first year as head coach in 1990-91.

Virginia is 167-24 (.874) all-time in University Hall against non-conference opponents since the building opened for the 1965-66 season.

Turnovers Kill Cavaliers

In its last contest, Virginia out-rebounded top-ranked Duke 39-36, shot 45.5 percent from the field and allowed just two Blue Devil starters to score in double figures. Still the Cavaliers dropped a 103-59 decision, due in large part to a season-high 28 turnovers.

Virginia has not done a particularly good job of protecting the basketball this season, averaging 19.3 turnovers per game.

Earlier in the season the Cavaliers committed 27 turnovers in a 60-45 win over George Mason.

In five of six games this season, Virginia has had more turnovers than assists. The Richmond game is the exception as Virginia had 13 assists and a season-low 12 turnovers.

UVa Faces Second Consecutive Ranked Team

The ACC has a record seven teams ranked in the current Associated Press poll for the second consecutive week (everybody except Virginia and N.C. State).

Tonight's game against Connecticut is the Cavaliers' second game in a row against a ranked team. Virginia lost to top-ranked Duke 103-59 in Durham, N.C., last Saturday.

The Huskies come to Charlottesville ranked 13th in this week's Associated Press poll.

Last season Virginia was 3-9 against ranked teams, including a 2-3 record at University Hall.

The Huskies are just the seventh non-conference team to come to University Hall with a national ranking.

The Cavaliers defeated #16 Minnesota 62-57 during the 1993-94 season in their most recent non-conference game against a ranked opponent.

All-time the Cavaliers are 3-3 against ranked non-conference teams in University Hall.

In all games, including conference match-ups, against ranked teams at University Hall the Cavaliers are 42-56.

A look at Virginia's results against ranked non-conference opponents at University Hall is below.

Season  Opponent & Rank         Result
1968-69 #8 St. John's (N.Y.)    St. John's, 77-61
1978-79 #16 Temple              UVa, 73-71
1982-83 #8 Louisville           UVa, 98-81
1988-89 #18 Connecticut         UConn, 68-61
1989-90 #18 Louisville          Louisville, 72-56
1993-94 #16 Minnesota           UVa, 62-57
A Change in the Middle

Chase Metheney started the first five games of the season at center for the Cavaliers this season before giving way to Colin Ducharme for last Saturday's game against Duke.

Metheney entered the Duke game averaging just 2.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game as the starter.

Against top-ranked Duke, Metheney turned in perhaps the best ACC game of his career. Spelling a foul-plagued Ducharme, he tossed in a career-high 12 points in 19 minutes of action. He connected on four of five shots from the floor and pulled down six rebounds.

One of the best seven-foot free throw shooters in ACC history, he was good on all four free throw attempts vs. the Blue Devils and has made 87.5 percent of his charity tosses this season.

Defensively, he rejected three Duke shots to become the first player to block more than two Duke shots in a game this season.

Metheney is eighth in the ACC in blocked shots this season (1.3/g). He also averages 3.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Four Reach Double Figures in Win
nolan
Norman Nolan.

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. Appalachian State).

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 four 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 two weeks 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.

Last week 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.

Chase Metheney scored a career-high 12 points off the bench in Virginia's loss to top-ranked Duke last Saturday. He scored more points against the Blue Devils than he had all season going into the game.

Nonetheless, 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.

Field Goal Shooting Improves this Season

Virginia has not been known recently for its field goal shooting proclivity, but so far this season the Cavaliers are shooting 44.6 percent from the field. This is a marked improvement from last season's mark of 42.7 percent.

Virginia has topped the 40-percent mark in every game this season. The season high is 46.2 percent vs. Appalachian State, while the low is 41.5 percent vs. William & Mary.

Last season the Cavaliers topped 45 percent 12 times in 31 games, and shot less than 40 percent from the field in 10 contests.

If the Cavaliers can keep going at their current rate this season, it would mark their best percentage since the 1990-91 squad shot 45.5 percent from the field.

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.

Through the first six games one of the two has led Virginia in scoring in each game.

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 in this season's second game.

He has led the team in scoring the last two contests with 17 points against Appalachian State last week and 19 points vs. top-ranked Duke last Saturday.

The senior from Baltimore, Md., is fourth in the ACC in scoring with an 18.5 points per game 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 on November 22. He paced the Cavaliers in scoring for the second consecutive game against Delaware with 19 points. He also tied his career high with nine rebounds.

Staples is second on the team (and sixth in the ACC), averaging 17.8 ppg.

Between them, Staples and Nolan have scored more than half of Virginia's points this season (218 of 383).

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 in the Cavaliers' last two wins--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.

Despite the loss to Duke last Saturday, Monte Marcaccini and Chase Metheney played well off the bench. Marcaccini grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in 27 minutes, while Metheney tossed in a career-high 12 points in his first game off the bench this season.

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
Duke        5-13    17      15      3       1       61
Last 3 avg. 45.1%   17.3    21.7    5.3     2.7     67.7
Staples 27th Player in NCAA History to 300
staples
Curtis Staples.

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 3.7 three-pointers per game with 22 treys in six games.

He has led the Cavaliers in scoring twice recently and has topped the 20-point plateau two times this season.

Staples has tossed in at least five three-pointers in two games this season, including a season-best seven threes in the opener against Richmond. In that game he connected on seven of 15 from behind the arc and scored 26 points.

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.

In the last three games, defenses have made a concerted effort to limit Staples' ability to get shots off. Appalachian State shadowed him with a much taller player and the strategy seemed to work as Staples was two of seven from bonusland.

Duke, the nation's top-ranked squad and an outstanding defensive team, allowed Staples to attempt just five three-pointers. He made two and finished with 16 points.

He became just the 27th player in NCAA history to make 300 career three-pointers with his three against Delaware.

The ACC leader in three-point field goals made the last three seasons, Staples is 23rd in NCAA history for career three-pointers (305) and 20th in three-point attempts (800).

His place on the NCAA career three-point list is below.

        Player,         school,         years       3FGM
    18. Terry Dehere,   Seton Hall,     1990-93     315
    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     305
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 stayed in the starting line-up for the three contests immediately after that, but Hand returned as the starter against Duke last Saturday.

Alexander took over the reins from John Crotty as a freshman in 1991-92, Jones' second season as UVa'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.

Virginia Wins with Defense

Virginia has built a reputation for outstanding defensive play over the last 20 years and the tradition continues this season.

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.

Virginia's opponents have shot 50 percent or better from the field in only 14 of the last 168 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         .360        64.5
Jones' career   .407        67.0
Marcaccini Tops Double Digits

Junior Monte Marcaccini came off the bench against George Mason on November 22 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 in the George Mason game 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.

Demonstrating that he does the little things, he failed to score against Delaware two weeks ago, but grabbed five rebounds off the bench.

Against Duke last Saturday, he pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds, while scoring just three points.

In the last three games he has 21 rebounds and 10 points. He has had more rebounds than points four times this season.

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 scoring four times and in rebounding three times.

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 last week.

One of the few bright spots in Virginia's 103-59 loss at top-ranked Duke last Saturday, Nolan scored a team-leading 19 points.

Nolan is averaging 18.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game this season, while shooting 55.3 percent from the field. He is third in the conference in rebounding and field goal percentage, and fourth in scoring.

Dersch Leads Team in Assists

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 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 percent shooting.

Dersch is averaging only 4.2 points per game, but leads the team with 22 assists.

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 6.7 rebounding average. His average should come as no surprise as his 4.6 rpg mark was second among ACC guards last season.

So far this season he is tied for ninth in the ACC in rebounding.

He tied his career high with a team-leading nine caroms against Delaware on November 25. He nearly equalled that performance with eight rebounds against Duke last Saturday. His eight rebounds were more than any Duke player had in the game.

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.

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.

Nolan Scores Career-High 22 Against Tribe

Norman Nolan has been Virginia's main inside threat during this young season, averaging 13.6 points per game, tops among UVa inside players.

He was instrumental in Virginia's comeback from a 10-point deficit against William & Mary on Wednesday night.

Nolan poured in a career-high 22 points against the Tribe and displayed a variety of low post moves that enabled him to connect on nine of 13 shots. The junior from Baltimore also added five rebounds (three offensive), had two assists and blocked two shots in 27 minutes in the 75-64 win.

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.

Not to Worry

The Cavaliers have a 6-3 record in this young season. That seems to be typical of their early season performance in recent years.

In Jeff Jones' seven years as head coach of the Cavaliers, UVa has lost at least two games before Christmas every year except one. Despite the early setbacks, the Cavaliers have regrouped and participated in four NCAA Tournaments and one National Invitation Tournament under Jones.

In Jones' first year at the helm in 1990-91, the Cavaliers won their first two games before dropping the next two.

In 1991-92 Virginia won its first two games of the season and then lost three of the next four and were 3-3 after six games. That squad went on to win the NIT.

Building on the NIT title, the 1992-93 squad won its first 11 games before losing to North Carolina on January 20.

Virginia lost its 1993-94 season opener, won three straight and then lost the next two and had a 3-3 record on Christmas Day.

Two years ago the Cavaliers had a 6-3 record by Christmas Day, but went 19-6 the rest of the way and advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight.

Under Jones the Cavaliers have a composite 33-16 (.688) record before Christmas Day.

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.

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.