Feb. 17, 1998

Virginia Travels to N.C. State

Virginia at N.C. State
February 18, 1998   n   7:00 p.m.
Reynolds Coliseum   Raleigh, N.C.   

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 this season. 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. Nolan has put together a season the likes of which hasn’t been turned in by a Virginia big man since Ralph Sampson.

Since Christmas, Nolan has been outstanding. In the 16 games since then, he is averaging 22.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He’s also shooting 51.5 percent from the floor and 72.9 percent from the free throw line. Nolan has been selected the ACC Player of the Week three times and joins Antawn Jamison (six) as the only players to win the honor more than once this season. Nolan has also turned in some of the top performances in the league in 1997-98. He is third in the ACC in “double doubles” this season with 12, two behind Jamison and one behind Matt Harpring. Jamison leads the conference with 14 games of 10+ rebounds, but Nolan and Harpring are just one behind.

Nolan and Jamison have each scored at least 30 points in four games this season to lead the league. The rest of the ACC players have combined for six 30-point games. Nolan and Jamison are the first conference players 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 against George Mason is the most by an ACC player this season, while his 35 points in the first game against N.C. State is the fourth-best output in the ACC. While he doesn’t lead the league in 20-point games, Nolan is one of only five league players with at least 10 20-point games this year. Jamison leads with 20, followed by Harpring with 17, Nolan with 13, and Virginia’s Curtis Staples and Tech’s Dion Glover with 12. Nolan is third in the conference in both scoring (20.7 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg). He is also fourth in the league in field goal percentage (52.7 percent) and minutes played (35.4 mpg), and sixth in offensive rebounds (2.68 orpg).

The Series vs. the Wolfpack N.C. State leads the overall series with Virginia 65-46, but the Cavaliers have won the last seven games and 12 of the last 13. Virginia’s seven-game winning streak over N.C. State is tied for the Cavaliers’ longest winning streak over the Wolfpack. UVa also won seven straight over State from 1980-83 during the Ralph Sampson era. UVa has won five of the last six games in Raleigh, with the lone loss during the 1993-94 season (67-54, Feb. 9).

Virginia won this season’s first meeting 59-56 in Charlottesville on January 18. Norman Nolan was the star of the day for the Cavaliers by pouring in a career-high 35 points and grabbing nine rebounds despite constant double and triple teaming. Curtis Staples added 16 points, hitting three three-pointers. The Cavaliers built a 10-point lead midway through the second half, but the Wolfpack chipped away and took a two-point lead (54-52) with 1:44 remaining. Staples put the Cavaliers ahead for good 55-54 on their next possession by connecting on a three-point bucket from the top of the key with 1:21 on the clock. The three-pointer not only proved to be the game-winner, but it also enabled Staples to pass former Georgia Tech standout Dennis Scott for the ACC record for most career three-point field goals.

More on the Series vs. N.C. State The Cavaliers have not found their trips to N.C. State very hospitable over the years, as they have won only 16 of 48 games all-time against the Wolfpack in Raleigh. Virginia is 15-28 all-time in Reynolds Coliseum against the Wolfpack. The first 13 ACC Tournaments (1954-66) were held at Reynolds Coliseum and UVa was 2-13 in those games, including an 0-3 mark against State. The Cavaliers have had better luck against the Wolfpack in recent years, particularly since Jeff Jones’ freshman season in 1978-79. Since that time, the Cavaliers are 30-13 in all games against the Wolfpack. In games in Raleigh since 1978-79, UVa is 11-8. As UVa’s head coach, Jones is 13-2 against the Wolfpack, including 5-2 in Raleigh. Cavaliers and Wolfpack Battle to the Wire The history of the series between these two schools since the late 1970s has been one marked by many closely contested games. Since 1978, 33 of the 45 games have been decided by less than 10 points. UVa is 23-10 (.697) in those games. Virginia has won the last five games by a combined 24 points. Since 1978, four games have been decided by one point, five by two points, four by three points, three by four points and three by five points. During one stretch (1985-1988) nine consecutive games were decided by nine points or less.

Shutting Down the Pack Offense Leads to Wins Virginia has been known as one of the best defensive teams in the nation under head coach Jeff Jones. The Cavaliers’ defensive prowess has been particularly evident in their seven-game winning streak over N.C. State. The Wolfpack is shooting just 38.0 percent from the field, while averaging 60.4 points per game, in the last seven games against Virginia. State has not made 50 percent of its shots against the Cavaliers since shooting 53.2 percent (33 of 62) from the floor in an 84-58 win in Raleigh on January 31, 1990.

A look at N.C. State’s field goal shooting and points scored against Virginia in the Jeff Jones era is below.

Year      Site   FGM  FGA  Pct.   Pts.
1990-91   UVa    27   59   45.8   72
          NCSU   28   58   48.3   83
1991-92   NCSU   24   66   36.4   69
          UVa    26   62   41.9   68
1992-93   NCSU   19   64   29.7   56
          UVa    28   62   45.2   66
1993-94   UVa    21   68   30.9   58
          NCSU   25   53   47.2   67
1994-95   NCSU   24   65   36.9   65
          UVa    24   62   38.7   55
1995-96   UVa    25   77   32.5   69
          NCSU   26   61   42.6   82
1996-97   UVa    20   44   45.5   50
          NCSU   15   39   38.5   46
1997-98   UVa    17   49   34.7   56
last 7 games   38.0 60.4
UVa Wins since 90-91    38.0   62.5
UVa Losses since 90-91    47.7   75.0

Winning Streak over Wolfpack is ACC’s Longest Virginia owns a seven-game winning streak over N.C. State. The Cavaliers’ last loss to the Wolfpack was a 67-54 loss in Raleigh during the 1993-94 season. The winning streak is tied with Duke’s streak over Florida State as the longest current streak in the ACC. Virginia’s streak is one of its longest winning streaks over an ACC opponent since UVa’s inaugural season of ACC play in 1953-54. Virginia’s longest winning streak over another ACC school is nine games (accomplished against three opponents).

A look at all of Virginia’s winning streaks longer than six games against ACC schools (only since 1953-54) is below.

    School,             years       Consec. Wins
1.  Duke,               1980-83      9
    Clemson,            1981-84      9
    Wake Forest,        1986-90      9
4.  Wake Forest,        1971-74      8
    Georgia Tech,       1981-83      8
6.  N.C. State,         1980-83      7
    Clemson,            1992-95      7
    N.C. State,         1995-pres.   7

20-Point Scorer for Virginia vs. Wolfpack Virginia is 20-5 against N.C. State in the last 25 games dating back to the 1985-86 season. One of the factors that has helped the Cavaliers post wins over the Wolfpack is having a player score at least 20 points. In the last 25 games, Virginia has had a 20-point scorer 19 times. In those games the Cavaliers are 16-3 and have won the last 11 games when having at least one player score 20 points. Virginia has had at least one 20-point scorer in the last six games (all wins) against State. Norman Nolan poured in a career-high 35 points against the Wolfpack in this season’s first meeting as the Cavaliers prevailed 59-56 in Charlottesville.

The last time UVa had a 20-point scorer against the Wolfpack and lost was when Kenny Turner poured in 25 points in an 83-76 loss in Raleigh during the 1990-91 season.

Looking to End Seven-Game Losing Streak The Cavaliers have lost their last seven games, including four games by eight points or fewer. The current losing streak is Virginia’s longest since losing eight consecutive games from Jan. 12-Feb. 6, 1974. The Cavaliers finished 11-16 that season in Bill Gibson’s last as coach at Virginia. The school record is 13 consecutive losses from Jan. 9-Feb. 26, 1960. Virginia is also having its troubles on the road this season. The Cavaliers won at Delaware on November 25, but have dropped six consecutive games on opponents’ home courts since that victory. Virginia has not won an ACC road game this season, going 0-6 with road games remaining at N.C. State tonight and at Florida State on February 28. The Cavaliers haven’t gone winless in road conference games since an 0-7 mark in 1984-85. Virginia has won two ACC road games in each of the last two seasons. Both seasons the wins came against Florida State and N.C. State—the Cavaliers’ two remaining road ACC games.

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 34.4 percent against Georgia Tech last month. (The season high is 58.9 percent vs. VMI on December 22.) Already this season Virginia has topped 45 percent 14 times after doing so just 12 times in 31 games a year ago. The Cavaliers have only two sub-40 percent games this season after compiling 10 last year. Their 30.0 percent performance against North Carolina last Wednesday is the season low. The Cavaliers’ field goal shooting percentage this season is their best since shooting 45.5 percent in 1990-91. Nolan, Staples 1-2 in Scoring As Virginia’s leading returning scorers, it is no surprise that Norman Nolan and Curtis Staples have carried the scoring load this season. One of the two has led the team in scoring in every game this season except the Clemson game on January 20. (Colin Ducharme led with 16 points). Overall this season there have been 19 games where the duo ranked 1-2 in scoring. Nolan leads UVa in scoring, averaging 20.7 points per game, and has been on fire in the last 16 games. During the 16-game span he is averaging 22.5 points per game, while shooting 51.5 percent from the field and 72.9 percent from the free throw stripe. Staples is the only other Cavalier in double figures, averaging 18.4 points per game. He has been UVa’s leading scorer in four of the last five games scoring 24, 25, 21 and 31 points to lead the Cavaliers. With a combined scoring average of 39.1 ppg, they are the most prolific Cavalier duo in over 40 years. Buzzy Wilkinson (32.1 ppg) and Bob McCarty (19.7 ppg) had a combined scoring average of 51.8 ppg in 1954-55.

Staples Eyes NCAA 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 4.5 three-pointers per game. He has led the Cavaliers in scoring eight times, reaching the 20-point plateau each time. Staples has tossed in at least five three-pointers in 13 games this season, including a school record-tying nine threes against Georgia Tech the last time out. He also connected on nine three-pointers against UNLV as a freshman in 1994-95. He established a school record for three-point attempts in a game with 17 against North Carolina last Wednesday. Staples’s nine three-pointers against Georgia Tech is the most by an ACC player in two years. He has five of the top-seven performances in the ACC this season for threes made in a game. (He tossed in eight threes against Wake Forest and had seven against Richmond, Maryland and North Carolina.) He has had a remarkably hot hand lately, averaging 7.0 treys and 23.4 points in the last five contests. With a minimum of five games left this season, Staples needs to average 2.8 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 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.   Curtis Staples, Virginia,       1995-98   396

Nolan Records 12 “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—20.7 ppg—and rebounding—8.7 rpg—this season. Nolan has 12 “double doubles,” two behind Antawn Jamison and one behind Matt Harpring. Nolan’s 12 “double doubles” are the most by a Cavalier in a season since Ralph Sampson had 24 as a senior in 1982-83. Nolan had six “double doubles” last season and now has 22 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. He had his first “double double” in eight games last Saturday against Georgia Tech with with 24 points and 12 rebounds. 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
Fla. State       10-18    6-7    6   26
North Carolina    3-12    1-1   10   7
Ga. Tech         10-17    4-4   12   24
Last 16 avg.      51.5%  72.9% 8.9  22.5
Season Avg.       52.7%  66.4% 8.7  20.7

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 16.4 turnovers per game. Virginia has three games of 20+ turnovers and two others of 19 miscues. The Cavaliers have 122 more turnovers than the opposition so far this season. They have also attempted 38 fewer shots despite having 14 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, two games by eight points, and others by four and 11 points. In games when the Cavaliers have had as many or more turnovers than the opponent, they are 9-14. Incredibly, five of Virginia’s six-lowest turnover totals have occurred in losses. The Cavaliers have turned the ball over in a game 13 times or fewer six times this season and lost five of those contests. The season-low is 10 turnovers in a win over VCU. Overall this season the Cavaliers have a 0.89:1 assists-to-turnover ratio. Virginia has had more turnovers than assists in each of the last two seasons. Virginia Wins with Defense UVa has built a reputation for outstanding defensive play over the last 20 years and this season is no different. Virginia’s opponents have shot 50 percent or better from the field in only 20 of the last 187 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          .420   69.1
Jones’ career    .410   67.2

Staples Sets School Record for Three-Pointers Long-range bomber Curtis Staples has connected on 113 three-point field goals this season, breaking his own school record of 103 threes as a freshman in 1994-95. Staples, who has his sights set on the NCAA record for career three-pointers, has turned in two of the top-five seasons in ACC history. He has led the ACC in three-point field goals in his first three seasons and is the league leader by a wide margin this season. If he leads the ACC in three-pointers this season, he will become just the third player in ACC history to lead the league in a statistical category for four consecutive seasons. (Ralph Sampson and Tim Duncan led the league in blocked shots four straight seasons.)

The top-five seasons in ACC history for three-point field goals made are below.

     Player,            school,     year      3FGM
1.   Dennis Scott,      Ga. Tech,   1989-90   137
2.   Scott,             Ga. Tech,   1988-89   116
3.   Curtis Staples,    UVa,        1997-98   113
4.   Rodney Monroe,     N.C. State, 1990-91   104
5.   Staples,           UVa,        1994-95   103

Nolan and Staples Have 1000 Career Points Curtis Staples and Norman Nolan are among 15 active ACC players with at least 1000 career points. Staples ranks third among active ACC players with 1675 points, while Nolan is seventh with 1208 points. Staples is eighth in Virginia history in scoring, while Nolan is 24th on the school’s all-time list. Both players have an opportunity to move up on UVa’s list, particularly Nolan.

Their places on Virginia’s all-time scoring list are below.

      Player,          years       Pts.
 7.   Harold Deane,    1994-97     1763
 8.   Curtis Staples,  1995-pres.  1675         …
19.   Marc Iavaroni,   1975-78     1244
20.   Tom Sheehey,     1984-87     1241
21.   Billy Langloh,   1974-77     1240
22.   Kenny Turner,    1988-91     1220
23.   Jimmy Miller,    1982-85     1218
24.   Norman Nolan,    1995-pres.  1208

Freshman Hand Runs the Point Freshman Donald Hand has started the last 16 games at point guard for the Cavaliers. As he has gained experience, he has stepped up his level of play. Hand’s efforts were particularly important recently when back-up point guard Chezley Watson missed four games due to the removal of his appendix on January 22. (Watson returned to action last Wednesday against North Carolina.) 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. Hand 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 38 minutes. He scored 11 points, the second-highest total of his career, against Florida State, while playing a career-high 39 minutes. Hand leads the team with 32 steals and is second in assists with 79. He is also averaging 4.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Hand is second among ACC rookies in assists, fourth in steals and fifth in starts (18).

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 20-12 in his career when Ducharme commits fewer than four fouls. Ducharme leads the team in blocked shots (31), while averaging 8.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

They’re There Every Night Norman Nolan and Curtis Staples have started all 25 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 92 of the last 93 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 77 of the last 83 games over the last three seasons. He started 26 games in each of the last two seasons.

Nolan Eighth 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 eighth in school history with 707 career rebounds. Next on the list is Marc Iavaroni with 718 rebounds.