Nov. 9, 1997

Virginia Falls in Exhibition Game

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - The University of Virginia men's basketball team dropped a 70-59 decision to the Australian National Team in front of 1,899 fans at University Hall.

Both teams played a low scoring, half-court battle in the first half of play. The Cavaliers took their first lead of the game when forward Norman Nolan scored on a layup with an assist from teammate Chezley Watson to put Virginia in front 11-10. The teams traded baskets over the next six minutes, before the Cavaliers built their largest lead on a Nolan jumper, putting Virginia up 19-16 with 7:16 to play in the half. Trailing 28-23 with 4.4 seconds to go in the first half, Curtis Staples knocked down a three-pointer to send Virginia into halftime trailing by only two at 28-26.

The Australian National Team held onto the lead and never trailed in the second half, building a 61-51 lead when Aaron Trahair buried a long three- point shot with 4:14 to play. The basket was huge for the Boomers, as the Cavaliers made a late run but could only close within five points after Staples made one of two free throws to make it 61-56 with 2:03 to play. That would be the closest Virginia would come, as the Australian team went on a 9-3 run to end the game.

The Cavaliers were led by Staples, who finished with 24 points. He was seven of 17 from three-point range, and added five rebounds for Virginia. Watson, a freshman point guard, provided a spark for the Cavaliers as he collected 10 points, dished out five assists and recorded three steals. Nolan made five of eight shots from the field, finishing with 12 points and two rebounds. Chase Metheney added eight points and eight rebounds in the loss for the Cavaliers.

The Australian National Team finished with four players scoring in double figures. Brett Maher led the Boomers with 14 points, while Brett Wheeler finished with 13 points and six rebounds, and Patrick Reidy 11 points. David Stiff scored 10 points for the Australians.

Virginia opens its 1997-1998 regular season next Sunday (Nov. 16) at 7:00 p.m. when the Cavaliers face the University of Richmond at the Robins Center in Richmond, Va.