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Jan. 30, 1998

Virginia Looking to Even Record

Virginia vs. Maryland
February 1, 1998 - 4:00 p.m.
Cole Field House
College Park, Md.

Virginia (1997-98 record: 10-11 overall/2-6 in the ACC) attempts to return to .500 this season against Maryland (1997-98 record: 12-7 overall/5-4 in the ACC) this afternoon at Cole Field House in College Park, Md. Tip off is set for 4:00 p.m.

Television: Today's game is being televised on the Raycom/Jefferson-Pilot ACC network. Tim Brant is the play by play announcer and Gil McGregor is the 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.

Nolan Makes Push for Postseason Honors
Norman Nolan may not get the national acclaim that some players get, but he has clearly become one of the top power forwards in the college game today.

He is at the top of his game right now and is a bonafide All-ACC candidate based on his play to date.

After a rigorous off-season where he worked hard on his strength and conditioning, and adding to his outside game, Nolan has picked up his level of play tremendously this year and caused ACC coaches and NBA scouts to take notice.

We're unsure what Nolan asked Santa Claus for this Christmas, but it's apparent the jolly man in red filled Nolan's stocking with a variety of offensive moves to score and bundles of rebounds to grab.

Since Christmas, Nolan has put together a series of performances the likes of which haven't been seen by Virginia fans since the days of Ralph Sampson.

Over his last 12 games, Nolan is averaging 23.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. He's also shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and 73.0 percent from the free throw line.

He had reached the 20-point plateau in seven straight games leading up to the Georgia Tech game on January 15, but fell one point short of extending his streak by scoring 19 points vs. the Yellow Jackets.

He got back on track in a big way the next time out by pouring in a career-high 35 points to power Virginia to an important ACC win over N.C. State.

He leads the ACC in "double doubles" this season with 11 and has been named ACC Player of the Week three times. He also has four of the top-five scoring outputs and the top rebounding effort in the ACC this season.

Nolan is third in the conference in both scoring (21.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg).

The Series vs. the Terrapins
Maryland leads the series with Virginia 87-60 in a rivalry that dates back to the 1912-13 season. After winning five consecutive meetings between 1992-1994, the Cavaliers have lost five of the last eight contests against the Terrapins.

This is the 51st consecutive season the Cavaliers and Terrapins have met (every season since 1947-48), Virginia's second-oldest opponent in terms of consecutive seasons met. They have played 109 games in that span. (Virginia's oldest opponent in terms of consecutive seasons played is Virginia Tech--64 straight seasons).

The Terrapins lead 49-19 (including 29-13 at Cole Field House) in games played in College Park during the series. Maryland is riding a four-game winning streak at home over Virginia. The Cavaliers' last win at Cole Field House was a 70-68 win on February 2, 1993.

Get Ready for a Nailbiter
The recent series with Maryland has featured several close games. Nine of the last 14 games have been decided by eight points or less. Fourteen of the 23 games since 1987 have been decided by eight points or less, with UVa winning nine of the close games.

Of Virginia's 22 wins over Maryland since head coach Jeff Jones arrived in Charlottesville as a freshman in 1978-79, 14 have been by eight points or less.

In the last 10 seasons there have been two overtime games, with each team winning one.

A breakdown of the close games in the series since the 1986-87 season is below:

2 points - 4   4 points - 1    5 points - 1
6 points - 3    7 points - 4    8 points - 1

Cavaliers Connect from Charity Stripe
Virginia entered the Wake Forest game in early January shooting 62.5 percent from the free throw line.

In the nine games since then, the Cavaliers have shot a combined 71.1 percent from the line and upped the season percentage to 66.4 percent.

Among regulars Colin Ducharme has led the charge, shooting 80.5 percent (33 of 41) in the last nine contests. He was outstanding in the Cavaliers' win over in-state rival Virginia Tech, making 10 of 11 attempts.

Norman Nolan has also improved his free throw shooting which is important for Virginia because he gets to the line almost twice as much as any player on the team. He is shooting 76.9 percent (50 of 65) during this span.

Curtis Staples and Willie Dersch have both connected on 73.3 percent of their tries in the last nine games. Staples is 22 of 30, while Dersch is 11 of 15.

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

Virginia's opponents have shot 50 percent or better from the field in only 18 of the last 183 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         .405    67.4
Jones' career   .408    67.1

Turnovers Decrease Chances to Win
Turnovers are one thing that drive basketball coaches crazy. And this season turnovers have been a big bugaboo for head coach Jeff Jones and his staff as the Cavaliers are averaging 16.7 turnovers per game. Virginia has three games of 20+ turnovers and two others of 19 miscues.

The Cavaliers have 107 more turnovers than the opposition so far this season. They have also attempted 39 fewer shots despite having 17 more offensive rebounds than their opponents.

An inability to maximize their scoring chances has doomed the Cavaliers in several games this season as they have lost two games by five points, two by seven, and others by four, eight and 11 points.

In games when the Cavaliers have had as many or more turnovers than the opponent, they are 9-11.

Virginia committed 15 turnovers against top-ranked Duke last weekend, while the Blue Devils had just eight. The differential proved to be important as Duke held a 17-6 scoring advantage in points off turnovers. The points were pivotal as Duke escaped with a seven-point win (72-65).

Strangely, two of Virginia's three-lowest turnover totals have occurred in losses. The Cavaliers turned the ball over just 12 times against Richmond in the opener, but the Spiders scored 12 points off those turnovers and won by four points in double overtime.

The Cavaliers turned the ball over 12 times against Liberty on January 7. However, the Flames turned the extra possessions into 18 points and won by five points.

Overall this season the Cavaliers have a 0.87:1 assists-to-turnover ratio.

Virginia has had more turnovers than assists in each of the last two seasons.

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 44.8 percent from the field. This is a marked improvement from last season's mark of 42.7 percent.

Virginia topped the 40-percent mark in the first 16 games of the season before shooting a season-low 34.4 percent against Georgia Tech five games ago. (The season high is 58.9 percent vs. VMI on December 22.)

The Cavaliers have gotten back on track since the Georgia Tech game, shooting a combined 45.2 percent from the field while facing some of the best defensive clubs in the nation (N.C. State, Clemson, Duke, Wake Forest).

Already this season Virginia has topped 45 percent 11 times in 21 games after doing so just 12 times in 31 games a year ago. The Cavaliers have only one sub-40 percent game this season after compiling 10 last year.

The Cavaliers' field goal shooting percentage this season is their best since shooting 45.5 percent in 1990-91.

For the first time in nine seasons, Virginia has three players shooting better than 50 percent from the field while playing at least 10 minutes per game (Colin Ducharme, Kris Hunter, Norman Nolan).

The 1988-89 squad had four (Matt Blundin, Bryant Stith, Kenny Turner, Curtis Williams).

Nolan Leads ACC in "Double Doubles"
Counted on to carry the scoring and rebounding load inside for the Cavaliers, Norman Nolan is excelling in both areas this season in what is shaping up to be the best season of his career.

He is third in the ACC in both scoring--21.0 ppg--and rebounding--8.7 rpg--this season.

He holds the ACC lead with 11 "double doubles," one more than Matt Harpring and Antawn Jamison.

Nolan's 11 "double doubles" this season equals Junior Burrough's total in 1994-95. Nolan has also tied Burrough for the most "double doubles" by a Cavalier in a season since Ralph Sampson's career ended in 1983.

Nolan had six "double doubles" last season and now has 21 for his career.

He turned in a fabulous Rainbow Classic in Hawaii, recording "double doubles" in all three Virginia games. His three "double doubles" were the most of any player in the Rainbow Classic. In fact, he was the only player with more than one.

For the tournament he finished third in scoring with 71 points (behind Kansas' Paul Pierce and Nebraska's Tyronn Lue). He was the tournament's second-leading rebounder with 31 boards, one fewer than Lester Earl of Kansas.

Nolan has hit a "double double" drought, going four games without one, his longest streak of the year.

His play since Christmas is outlined below.

                   FG      FT      Reb.    Pts.
Nebraska            10-22   3-6     11      23
Brigham Young       10-16   4-8     10      24
New Mexico St.      8-19    8-10    10      24
Wake Forest         14-24   3-4     12      31
Liberty             11-17   8-10    8       30
North Carolina      11-20   7-9     8       29
Va. Tech            6-13    8-9     11      20
Ga. Tech            7-18    5-5     10      19
N.C. State          13-19   9-11    9       35
Clemson             5-12    0-3     5       10
Duke                7-16    8-10    6       22
Wake Forest         7-12    2-4     8       16
Last 12 avg.        52.4%   73.0%   9.0     23.6
Season Avg.         53.5%   65.7%   8.7     21.0

Nolan Ninth in School History
Norman Nolan has led Virginia in rebounding the last two seasons and is bidding to lead for the third consecutive season in 1998. So far he holds a wide lead in the team rebounding race with an 8.7 rebounds per game average.

If he leads the team in rebounding again this season he would be the first Cavalier since Ralph Sampson to pace the team for three straight seasons. Sampson led all four years from 1980-83.

Nolan is ninth in school history with 672 career rebounds. Next on the list is Kenny Turner with 706 rebounds.

Staples Sets ACC Three-Point Record
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, leading the nation with an average of 4.1 three-pointers per game.

He has led the Cavaliers in scoring five times, reaching the 20-point plateau each time.

Staples has tossed in at least five three-pointers in 10 games this season, including a season-best eight threes against Wake Forest the last time out. Against the Demon Deacons, Staples connected on eight of 15 attempts from behind the arc to pace the Cavaliers with 24 points.

He tied the school record (set on several other occasions) for most three-point attempts in a game, and missed the school record for most treys in a game by one.

Staples has the top-two performances in the ACC this season for threes made in a game. (He tossed in seven threes against Richmond in the opener.)

He connected on three three-pointers in the win over N.C. State on January 18 to break the ACC record for most career three-pointers. His third trey of the game was memorable for several reasons. It came with 1:21 left in the game and gave the Cavaliers the lead for good at 55-54.

It also enabled him to move past former Georgia Tech standout Dennis Scott into first place in ACC history in career three-pointers. Scott finished his career with 351.

Staples is now fifth in NCAA history with 369 career three-point field goals.

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

   Player, school, years                   3FGM
1.  Keith Veney, Lamar/Marshall, 1993-97    409
2.  Doug Day, Radford, 1990-93              401
3.  Ronnie Schmitz, Missouri-K.C., 1989-93  378
4.  Mark Alberts, Akron, 1988-93            375
5.  Curtis Staples, Virginia, 1995-98       369

Nolan Turns in ACC's Top Performances
In addition to leading the ACC in "double doubles," Norman Nolan leads the league in several other areas.

He has a league-high 11 games with at least 10 rebounds. Matt Harpring and Antawn Jamison are second with 10 games each.

Nolan has tossed in 30 or more points on four occasions this season, with a high of 35 against N.C. State on January 18. The rest of the players in the ACC have combined for three 30-point games.

Nolan has four of the top-five scoring outputs in the league and is the first conference player since Joe Smith (Maryland) in 1994-95 to have at least four 30-point games in a season. (Smith had five.)

Nolan's 16 rebounds vs. George Mason is tied with Matt Harpring for the most in the ACC this season.

While he doesn't lead the league in 20-point games, Nolan is one of only three league players with more than nine 20-point games this year. Jamison leads with 16, followed by Harpring with 14 and Nolan with 10.

Freshman Hand Runs the Point
Freshman Donald Hand has started the last 12 games at point guard for the Cavaliers, the longest streak by a UVa starting point guard this season. As he has gained experience, he has stepped up his level of play. Hand's efforts will be particularly important in upcoming games due to the loss of back-up point guard Chezley Watson who had his appendix removed on January 22.

Hand returned to the starting line-up for the Rainbow Classic after not starting the previous three games and played a key role in Virginia's win over Brigham Young in Hawaii.

The rookie from Paterson, N.J., tossed in a career-high 14 points and added four assists to pace the Wahoos. Twelve of his points came in the second half as Virginia withstood a furious BYU rally. He connected on three three-pointers in the final nine minutes to spur Virginia.

His scoring has been down a bit in the last several games, but he is becoming more assertive in leading the Cavalier attack with each game.

He handed off a team-high seven assists, while grabbing a career-high six rebounds, against Georgia Tech four games ago.

In the next game, he tied Willie Dersch for game assists honors with four against N.C. State.

His quick hands enabled him to record a career-high five steals in just 22 minutes against Clemson.

Hand dished off a career-high nine assists against top-ranked Duke last weekend, while playing the longest stint of his career (38 minutes).

Hand leads the team with 28 steals and is second in assists with 65. He is also averaging 4.1 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.

Hand is second among ACC rookies in assists (65), fourth in steals (28) and fifth in starts (14).

Staples Joins Select UVa Group
Sharpshooter Curtis Staples has been one of Virginia's most consistent scorers throughout his career, averaging between 11.9 and 14.0 points per game up to this season. So far this season he is averaging 17.5 points per game, the highest by a Virginia guard since Cory Alexander averaged 18.8 ppg as a sophomore in 1992-93.

Staples has scored 368 points this season to become just the sixth player in school history to score at least 350 points in all four years of varsity play.

Jeff Lamp was the first Cavalier to score at least 350 points in four consecutive seasons. He was followed by Ralph Sampson, Bryant Stith, Junior Burrough and Harold Deane.

Four others scored 350+ points in their three seasons of varsity play before freshmen became eligible to play in 1972-73. They are Buzzy Wilkinson, Bob McCarty, Jim Connelly and Barry Parkhill.

They're There Every Night
Norman Nolan and Curtis Staples have started all 21 games this season for the Cavaliers. They are among only 17 players in the ACC to start each of their teams' games this season.

Staples worked his way into the starting line-up late in his freshman year in 1994-95, starting the last 10 games of the season. He has started 88 of the last 89 games in the backcourt for the Cavaliers. The only game he did not start was UVa's last home game last season on "Senior Day," a game where seniors traditionally start.

Nolan has started 73 of the last 79 games over the last three seasons. He started 26 games in each of the last two seasons.

Nolan Gets to the Line
As one of the ACC's top post players, it's not surprising that Norman Nolan draws a lot of fouls while working down low.

He has made 88 of 134 free throw attempts this season, both career high figures.

He is second in the ACC in attempts (behind Antawn Jamison of North Carolina) and third in free throws made behind Jamison and Georgia Tech's Matt Harpring.

As an interesting aside, Nolan has made 22 more free throws than any other player on the team has attempted.

The last Cavalier to spend as much time as Nolan at the charity stripe was Junior Burrough. Burrough was 142 of 200 in 1994-95.

Ducharme Equals Career High vs. Clemson
Colin Ducharme is one of the team's most intense players. Sometimes his intensity leads to being overly aggressive and a tendency to commit fouls, which usually limits his playing time. When he isn't hampered with foul difficulty he adds an extra dimension to the UVa offense.

He was whistled for at least four fouls in six consecutive games leading up to the January 12 encounter against state-rival Virginia Tech. In those six games he was averaging just 20.0 minutes of playing time per game.

He stayed out of foul trouble against the Hokies and showed what he can do by scoring a career-high 16 points in a career-high 36 minutes of action.

Ducharme was in foul trouble in the next two games (Georgia Tech, N.C. State) and fouled out against N.C. State after scoring three points.

Ducharme was one of Virginia's few bright spots in the loss at Clemson on January 20 as he showed once again what he can do when he isn't hampered with foul difficulties. He tied career highs in both points (16) and minutes played (36) against the Tigers and was whistled for just three fouls.

This season the Cavaliers are 5-3 when Ducharme commits fewer than four fouls and are 20-9 in his career.

Ducharme leads the team in blocked shots (27), while averaging 8.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

Four in Double Figures
Virginia spread its scoring around in the win over Virginia Tech on January 12 as four Cavaliers reached double figures, led by Norman Nolan's 20 points. Colin Ducharme scored a career-high 16 points, while Curtis Staples added 13 and Willie Dersch chipped in with 10.

It was the fourth game this season at least four Cavaliers scored in double figures and Virginia has won them all.

In Jeff Jones' eight years as Virginia's head coach the Cavaliers have been remarkably successful when placing at least four players in double figures. His Cavalier squads are 70-15 with at least four players in double figures and have won nine of the last 10 games.

Staples, Nolan Pass Scoring Milestones
Norman Nolan has been on fire offensively since Christmas, averaging 23.6 points per game since Santa Claus made his rounds.

His hot streak has enabled him to become the 32nd player in school history to score 1000 career points. He is now 29th in Virginia history with 1131 points.

Curtis Staples became the 11th player in school history to score at least 1500 points earlier this month and is now 10th on UVa's all-time scoring list with 1582 points.

Staples also passed former Georgia Tech standout Dennis Scott and moved atop the ACC's all-time three-point field goals made list last month. Staples now has 369 career three-pointers, fifth in NCAA history.

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

Before the loss to Clemson on January 20, one of the two had led Virginia in scoring in every game this season. Overall this season there have been 16 games where the duo ranked 1-2 in scoring.

Things changed against Clemson as Colin Ducharme pumped in a career-high tying 16 points to pace the team for the first time in his career.

Nonetheless, Nolan and Staples are still counted on to provide the bulk of the team's points the rest of the way.

Nolan leads UVa in scoring, averaging 21.0 points per game, and has been on fire in the last 12 games. During the 12-game span he is averaging 23.6 points per game, while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 73.0 percent from the free throw stripe.

Staples is the only other Cavalier in double figures, averaging 17.5 points per game. As a deadly long-range shooter, it's not surprising that teams pay particular attention to him, throwing a variety of defenses and defenders at him.

Over the last 12 games, Staples is averaging 16.9 points per game and shooting 38.0 percent from three-point range.

Between them, Staples and Nolan have scored more than half of Virginia's points this season (808 of 1405).

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 third on the team in rebounding this season with a 4.7 rebounding average. His average should come as no surprise as his 4.6 rpg mark was second among ACC guards last season.

He is tied with Florida State's LaMarr Greer for second in rebounding among ACC backcourt players this season. They trail Dion Glover of Georgia Tech (5.0 rpg).

Staples has led Virginia on the boards twice this season, including last weekend against top-ranked Duke.

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.

Ducharme, Metheney in Top 10
Two of the most prolific shot blockers in Virginia history are active this season--Colin Ducharme and Chase Metheney.

Ducharme led the team with 41 rejections last season as a freshman. He is pacing the team again this season with 27 blocks.

Metheney, one of the tallest players in ACC history at 7-4, has been among the team's top-three shot blockers each of the last three seasons. He has swatted 16 shots this season, third on the squad.

Their place on the school's all-time blocked shots list is below.

   Player, years               BS
1.  Ralph Sampson, 1980-83      462
2.  Chris Alexander, 1993-96    148
3.  Steve Castellan, 1976-79    108
4.  Junior Burrough, 1992-95    96
5.  Olden Polynice, 1984-86     86
6.  Ted Jeffries, 1990-93       82
7.  Colin Ducharme, 1997-98     68
8.  Chase Metheney, 1996-98     63


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