Dec. 23, 1997

University Of Virginia Men's Basketball Notes

Virginia in the Rainbow Classic: The Virginia men's basketball team returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 27, when the Cavaliers play the University of Nebraska in the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. The game marks the first meeting between the two teams and is scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Nebraska enters the game with an overall record of 8-2. The Huskers' last game was a 70-66 win at Minnesota on December 13.

Nebraska has three players averaging in double figures in scoring. The Huskers' leading scorer is junior guard Tyronn Lue who is averaging 20.0 points and 4.1 rebounds a game. Venson Hamilton, a 6-10 junior center, is averaging 14.4 points and 11.4 rebounds a game, and Cookie Belcher, a 6-3 sophomore guard, is averaging 11.8 points and 3.5 rebounds a game.

Nebraska's head coach is Danny Nee. He is in his 12th season as the head coach at Nebraska and his Husker teams have compiled an overall record of 211-148. The 1997-98 season is Nee's 18th as a college head coach and his teams have compiled an overall record of 318-215.

Rainbow Schedule: After opening the Rainbow Classic against Nebraska on December 27, Virginia does not play on December 28. The Cavaliers play either Hawaii or Brigham Young on December 29. The winners of the December 27 games meet at 10 p.m. Eastern time on December 29, while the losers' bracket game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Eastern time. Virginia's final game in the tournament is scheduled for December 30 against either Kansas, New Mexico State, Ohio State or Vanderbilt.

Virginia Heads for Hawaii: The Cavaliers left for Hawaii after a 92-55 victory over Virginia Military Institute on Monday (Dec. 22). The win was the second in a row for UVa and was the Cavaliers' sixth in their last eight games. Virginia is 6-3 on the season.

Senior guard Curtis Staples led the Cavaliers in scoring with a game-high 23 points against the Keydets. Three other UVa players scored in double figures. Senior forward Norman Nolan scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds, sophomore forward/guard Willie Dersch scored a career-high 18 points and had six rebounds, and red-shirt junior forward Monte Marcaccini added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Marcaccini's 13 points were the most points he's scored in a game since transferring to Virginia from Pepperdine prior to the 1995-96 academic year.

The Cavaliers shot 58.9 percent from the field (33-56), including 58.8 percent (10-17) from three point range, against VMI. Both figures are season highs for Virginia.

Virginia's Jeff Jones: Jeff Jones is in his eighth year as the head coach of the Virginia men's basketball team. His Virginia teams have compiled an overall record of 141-88 (.616).

Point Guards Provide Assistance: Virginia point guards Pete McLaughlin, Chezley Watson and Donald Hand combined for 15 assists and five turnovers in the Cavaliers' 92-55 victory over VMI on December 22. McLaughlin had six assists and two turnovers, Watson five assists and two turnovers, and Hand four assists and one turnover.

Staples 16th on Scoring List: Senior guard Curtis Staples is 16th on Virginia's career scoring list with 1,379 points. Immediately ahead of Staples is Mel Kennedy (1985-88) with 1,415 points. Virginia Men's Basketball Notes - 1st Add

Staples & Nolan Lead Cavaliers: Senior guard Curtis Staples and senior forward Norman Nolan are the only players to lead Virginia in scoring in a game this season. Nolan has been UVa's leading scorer in five games and Staples in four games. Staples is averaging 18.3 points a game and is shooting 45.1 percent from three point range (37-82). Nolan is averaging 17.4 points a game and is shooting 55.4 percent from the field (67-121). He leads the team in rebounding with an average of 8.3 a game.

Sophomore forward/guard Willie Dersch leads the team in assists with 30 (3.3 apg.), sophomore center/forward Colin Ducharme is the team leader in blocked shots with 16 (1.8 bpg.) and freshman guard Donald Hand leads the team in steals with 14 (1.6 spg.).

Moving Up ACC List: Senior guard Curtis Staples has 320 three-point field goals in his career after making five three-point shots in Virginia's victory over VMI on December 22. He is UVa's career leader in that department, is fourth on the Atlantic Coast Conference career list and is tied for 16th on the NCAA's career list for three-point field goals made.

Rodney Monroe (North Carolina State, 1988-91) is third on the ACC's career list for three-point field goals with 322. Randolph Childress (Wake Forest, 1991, 93-95) is second with 329 and Dennis Scott (Georgia Tech, 1988-90) is the conference's career leader with 351.

Staples Rebounds Too: Senior guard Curtis Staples is second on the Virginia team in rebounding with an average of 5.7 rebounds a game. He tied his career high with nine in the Cavaliers' victory at Delaware on November 25. Staples averaged 4.6 rebounds a game last season, second among guards in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Three at the Point: Virginia has started three players at point guard this season. Freshman Chezley Watson has started four games, senior Pete McLaughlin three games and freshman Donald Hand two games. McLaughlin has started the last three games.

Dersch Off the Bench: Sophomore forward/guard Willie Dersch started Virginia's first seven games of the season and averaged 3.6 points and 4.0 rebounds a game while shooting 25.6 percent from the field (11-43), including 20.0 percent from three-point range (2-10), and 25.0 percent from the free throw line (1-4). He had a team-leading 25 assists, 22 turnovers, four steals and four blocked shots while playing an average of 34 minutes a game.

He's come off the bench in the last two games and is averaging 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds a game while playing an average of 30 minutes. Dersch is shooting 55.0 percent from the field (11-20), including 40 percent from three point range (2-5), and 63.6 percent from the free throw line (7-11) in the two games. He also has five assists, four steals, two blocked shots and just one turnover in the last two games.

Marcaccini From Deep: Red-shirt junior forward Monte Marcaccini made four of six three-point attempts in Virginia's victory over VMI. Entering the game he had only three three-point field goals this season. Marcaccini made only five three-point field goals last season.

Cavaliers Shooting Better: Virginia is shooting 46.0 percent from the field through the first nine games of the 1997-98 season. The Cavaliers shot 42.7 percent from the field for the 1996-97 season.

Good Defense: VMI shot just 30 percent from the field (21-70) in its 92-55 loss to Virginia on December 22 at University Hall. The Keydets were the sixth opponent to shoot under 40 percent from the field against the Cavaliers this season. UVa is 5-1 in those games. The Cavaliers are holding their opponents to a combined 37.0 percent shooting from the field and an average of 64.8 points a game.