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Feb. 3, 1998

Seminoles Up Next for Cavaliers

Virginia vs. Florida State
February 4, 1998 - 7:30 p.m.
University Hall
Charlottesville, Va.

Virginia (1997-98 record: 10-12 overall/2-7 in the ACC) looks to end a four-game losing streak this evening against Florida State (1997-98 record: 15-7 overall/4-5 in the ACC) in University Hall. Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m. This is a rare non-televised ACC game.

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.

In the 13 games since Christmas, Nolan is averaging 23.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He's also shooting 52.0 percent from the floor and 70.5 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 is tied for the ACC lead 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 (20.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg).

The Series vs. the Seminoles
Virginia leads the series with Florida State 8-4, including a 4-2 record at University Hall. The Cavaliers won last season's battle in Charlottesville 73-60 and also took the game in Tallahassee 64-61.

Three of Virginia's four wins over the Seminoles at University Hall have been by double-digit margins--20 points in 1994, and 13 points in 1995 and 1997.

The Seminoles two wins at University Hall have been by a combined six points--64-63 in 1992 and 69-64 in 1996.

Overall in the series, five of Virginia's wins over the Seminoles have been by nine points or less, while two of its losses have been by 15+ points.

Staples Prefers Anybody to FSU
Virginia has won eight of the 12 games played with Florida State, but one Cavalier might enter tonight's game with some trepidation--Curtis Staples.

Staples has established himself as one of the nation's top long-distance shooting threats, but you wouldn't know it based on his performances against the Seminoles.

The Seminoles have done a good job of shutting Staples down in his career. He is averaging just 10.2 points per game against Florida State, his lowest average against any ACC team.

He has scored more than nine points against FSU only twice in his career (14 on 2-4-95 and 20 on 2-1-97, both games in Charlottesville).

Of the last 53 games against ACC schools (encompassing the regular season and ACC Tournament), Staples has missed double digits only seven times, but three have come against the Seminoles.

Staples is averaging 3.3 three-pointers per game during his career, but he's just 14 of 44 (2.3/g, 31.8 percent) from three-point land in six games against the Seminoles.

His shooting against FSU game-by-game is below.

Year/site  FGs     3FGs    Pts.
1995 FSU    2-4     2-4     7
     UVa    5-11    4-10    14
1996 UVa    3-14    2-11    8
     FSU    2-5     2-5     8
1997 FSU    2-7     0-3     4
     UVa    6-13    4-11    20
Total       20-54   14-44   61
Avg.        37.0%   31.8%   10.2

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 184 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         .409    67.8
Jones' career   .409    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 16.8 turnovers per game. Virginia has three games of 20+ turnovers and two others of 19 miscues.

The Cavaliers have 112 more turnovers than the opposition so far this season. They have also attempted 46 fewer shots despite having 20 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 three games by seven points, two games by five points, 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 9-12.

Virginia committed 15 turnovers against top-ranked Duke 11 days ago, 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 45.1 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 last month. (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 46.3 percent from the field while facing some of the best defensive clubs in the nation (N.C. State, Clemson, Duke, Wake Forest, Maryland).

Already this season Virginia has topped 45 percent 12 times in 22 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--20.9 ppg--and rebounding--8.6 rpg--this season.

He is tied with North Carolina's Antawn Jamison for the ACC lead with 11 "double doubles."

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 five 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
Maryland            9-19    2-6     7       20
Last 13 avg.        52.0%   70.5%   8.8     23.3
Season Avg.         53.2%   64.3%   8.6     20.9

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 8.6 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 679 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 4.2 three-pointers per game.

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

Staples has tossed in at least five three-pointers in 11 games this season, including a season-best eight threes against Wake Forest two games ago. 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 three of the top-four performances in the ACC this season for threes made in a game. (He tossed in seven threes against Richmond and Maryland.)

He has had a remarkably hot hand lately, averaging 7.0 treys and 23.0 points in the last three contests.

Staples is now fourth in NCAA history with 376 career three-point field goals.

With a minimum of eight games left this season, Staples needs to average 4.3 three-pointers per game to break the NCAA record. Keith Veney, who played collegiately at Lamar and Marshall, is first with 409.

Staples' 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.  Curtis Staples, Virginia, 1995-98       376

Nolan Turns in ACC's Top Performances
Norman Nolan and Antawn Jamison of North Carolina are battling it out for league supremacy in several categories. They are currently tied for the league lead in "double doubles" with 11 and most games with at least 10 rebounds (11). Both figures are one more than Georgia Tech's Matt Harpring has posted.

Nolan does have the lead in several other categories. He 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 also 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 has scored in double figures in all 22 games this season, the only ACC player to reach double digits in each of his team's games.

His 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 four league players with at least 10 20-point games this year. Jamison leads with 17, followed by Harpring with 14, Nolan with 11 and Virginia's Curtis Staples with 10.

Freshman Hand Runs the Point
Freshman Donald Hand has started the last 13 games at point guard for the Cavaliers. As he has gained experience, he has stepped up his level of play. Hand's efforts will be particularly important against Florida State with the continued absence 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 on January 15.

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 on January 24, while playing the longest stint of his career (38 minutes).

He grabbed a career-high eight rebounds against Maryland on Sunday, one behind the team leader.

Hand leads the team with 28 steals and is second in assists with 68. He is also averaging 4.0 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.

Hand is second among ACC rookies in assists (68), fourth in steals (28) and fifth in starts (15).

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 17.9 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 393 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 22 games this season for the Cavaliers. They are among only 16 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 89 of the last 90 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 74 of the last 80 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 90 of 140 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 21 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.

The Cavaliers are 20-10 in his career when Ducharme commits fewer than four fouls.

Ducharme leads the team in blocked shots (29), while averaging 8.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.


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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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