Basketball Squad Slated to Take on VMI
December 22, 1998
Virginia vs. VMI
December 22, 1998 – 7:30 p.m.
University Hall – Charlottesville, Va.
The Series vs. VMI
The Cavaliers own a 95-15 advantage in the all-time series against VMI that dates back to the 1908-09 season.
Virginia has won the last 18 meetings between the two schools, the Cavaliers’ second-longest winning streak of the series. After dropping consecutive meetings in 1942 and 1943, Virginia reeled off 32 wins in a row over the Keydets from 1943-1960. That is a school record for most consecutive wins over an opponent.
Virginia’s 95 wins against VMI are by far its most over any opponent. Next is Virginia Tech, who Virginia has beaten 68 times.
VMI has not beaten Virginia since gaining a 95-75 win in Lexington, Va., on December 9, 1964. Cavalier head coach Pete Gillen was a 17-year old freshman at Fairfield University at the time. Kris Hunter, the oldest player on this year’s UVa team, wasn’t born until almost 13 years later.
Virginia gained a 92-55 win at University Hall last season in the most recent contest between the two schools.
The Cavaliers are 11-0 against the Keydets at University Hall.
Virginia vs. the Southern Conference
This is Virginia’s lone game of the season against a school from the Southern Conference.
Virginia was one of the 13 original members of the “old” Southern Conference from 1922-37 and has a long and rich history of competition against the Southern Conference.
Almost an original member of the conference, VMI joined the league in 1926 and is its oldest current member.
Against the 12 current members of the Southern Conference, the Cavaliers are 110-19 all-time. Most of the games were against VMI’a series Virginia leads 95-15. The Cavaliers are 2-0 vs. The Citadel, 1-0 vs. Appalachian State, College of Charleston and East Tennessee State, and 10-4 against Davidson.Of the Southern Conference’s current membership, Virginia has never faced Chattanooga, Furman, Georgia Southern, North Carolina-Greensboro, Western Carolina or Wofford.
There have been 38 other schools besides UVa that have been members of the Southern Conference at one time or another since 1922. These schools include many current members of the Southeastern Conference and the ACC. Virginia is 269-244 (.524) against these schools at the time they were in the Southern Conference.
Shooting Well vs. Keydets
The Cavaliers have won their last 18 games against VMI, due in part to their outstanding shooting. During this streak, stretching back more than 30 years, Virginia is shooting 51.8 percent from the field, while the Keydets shoot 37.6 percent.
During their 18-game winning streak against the Keydets, the Cavaliers have not shot less than 44.2 percent from the field (1972-73). Their highest mark is 65.9 percent in the 1975-76 contest. That shooting performance is the seventh-best mark in school history.
In the 12 games since 1972-73, Virginia has topped 47 percent in every game, including shooting 50 percent or better nine times. The Cavaliers have made at least half of their shots in the last eight meetings vs. VMI dating back to the 1982-83 season and are shooting 54.4 percent during this period.
In-State Teams at University Hall
University Hall has gained a well-deserved reputation as a tough place to play, particularly for in-state schools. Old Dominion and Richmond (two wins each) are the only state schools with more than one win at University Hall.Since University Hall opened on November 25, 1965, the Cavaliers have compiled a 67-7 (.905) record against state schools on the hardwood at U-Hall. Virginia had won 42 consecutive home games against in-state teams before falling to Liberty 69-64 last season.
The Cavaliers have won two games against state teams (Hampton, Liberty) this season to forge a two-game winning streak vs. in-state opponents. In all games against in-state opponents over the last 20 seasons the Cavaliers are 86-14 (.860).
Opponents Shoot Blanks at University Hall
Virginia is 31-7 against non-conference opponents at University Hall over the last six seasons. Among the reasons the Cavaliers have been so successful in non-conference games is their ability to out-shoot and out-rebound the other team.
In their wins, the Cavaliers have shot 46.3 percent from the field compared to 36.6 percent for the opposition. Virginia also out-rebounds the other team by more than 10 rebounds per game (44.5/g to 33.3/g).
In contrast, the tables are turned in Virginia’s home losses. The opponents shoot much better than Virginia (43.2 percent vs. 37.2 percent) and out-rebound the Cavaliers by a wide margin (44.7/g to 32.4/g).
Three of the five-highest shooting percentages by non-conference opponents on Virginia’s home floor the last six seasons have come in Virginia losses. Liberty shot 50.0 percent last season and stunned UVa 69-64. Ohio shot 47.4 percent in a 94-83 win during the 1994-95 season, while Connecticut shot 46.3 percent in winning the 1993-94 season opener.
Only 13 of the last 38 non-conference opponents to come to University Hall have managed to make more than 40 percent of their field goal attempts.
Lack of Depth Presents Problems
One area of concern for head coach Pete Gillen is the lack of depth of his Cavalier squad. The roster features just seven scholarship players (of whom only six are currently healthy) and seven walk-ons.
Virginia managed to build a double digit lead in each of the first nine games of the season, but lost three games in the closing moments with fatigue caused by lack of depth a factor.
The problem was particularly evident at the Top of the World Classic in Alaska.
In the first round game against Arkansas, Virginia built an early 10-point lead and maintained a lead until midway through the second half. The Razorbacks’ depth proved to be too much as the Cavaliers ultimately lost 85-83.
The following afternoon against Wisconsin, Virginia was really in a bind. Three starters became ill prior to the game (Willie Dersch, Kris Hunter, Chris Williams). Hunter missed the game entirely, while Dersch and Williams weren’t at full strength. Nonetheless, Virginia built a 10-point lead early in the second half before the Badgers’ superior size and depth prevailed down the stretch. The Cavaliers made only five field goals in the second half and lost 66-56.
The final game in Alaska against Washington State also proved to be a nailbiter. The Cavaliers held an 18-point lead seven minutes into the second half (50-32) before going scoreless for 11:02. Washington State used the UVa drought to go on a 15-point run to cut the lead to 50-47. Donald Hand canned a huge three-pointer with 2:26 left to cut the Cougars’ momentum as UVa held on to win 62-53.
Virginia held a 14-point lead with just over seven minutes remaining against Florida State in its ACC opener, but lost 72-69 when the Seminoles rallied down the stretch.
“Fun N Gun” Off and Running
New head coach Pete Gillen’s coaching philosophy is to employ an up-tempo style of play. He favors a running and pressing tempo that enables his teams to have fun and lets the players use their creative talents. Gillen’s philosophy is in contrast with the style of play of the last 25 years or so in Charlottesville.Gillen’s “fun and gun” style is off to a flying start so far this season. The Cavaliers are averaging 83.4 points per game, while forcing 19.5 turnovers per game.
Virginia is also shooting 46.8 percent from the field and is getting a lot of shots in transition (such as lay-ups and easy buckets underneath).UVa topped the century mark with 116 points vs. Hampton and followed that with 106 points against Elon, marking the first time since the 1989 NCAA Tournament that UVa has had back-to-back 100-point games.
The Cavaliers have topped 80 points in six games this season, the first time they have done that since topping 80 points 13 times in 1994-95.
Non-Conference Teams at University Hall
This is the 200th non-conference game for the Cavaliers at University Hall.Virginia is 172-27 (.864) all-time in U-Hall against non-conference opponents since the building opened for the 1965-66 season.
The Cavaliers have won 54 of their last 62 home games against non-conference opponents dating back to the 1989-90 season (basically this decade).
Rookie Williams Makes Early Impression
Chris Williams’ collegiate career consists of just 10 games, but so far he’s made quite an impression.
In his collegiate debut he did something only one other UVa freshman has ever donerecord a double-double in his debut. Williams scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as Virginia defeated Virginia Commonwealth. (For the record, Scott Johnson in 1995-96 is the other UVa rookie to achieve a double-double in his debut.)
The player his teammates call “Big Smooth” added to his accomplishments by erasing Ralph Sampson’s name from the record book in one area two weeks ago. Williams tossed in a career-high 34 points against Liberty, breaking the previous UVa rookie record of 32 points by Sampson.
Williams leads the team in a variety of categories/scoring (18.5 ppg), rebounding (7.4 rpg, more than half his rebounds are offensive), steals (2.6 spg) and field goal shooting (52.9 percent). Additionally, he is second in blocked shots (eight) and third in assists (24).
He has scored at least 20 points four times and owns both of UVa’s double-doubles.
Hunter 11th in Nation in Blocks
Junior center Kris Hunter fell ill during the Cavaliers’ recent trip to Alaska, missing one game as a result. He didn’t stay down long, though.
In UVa’s 116-66 win over Hampton on November 25, he gave the Cavaliers a big spark off the bench. Head coach Pete Gillen labeled Hunter, “the star of the game.” The tallest player on the team (and the only healthy scholarship player taller than 6-6), he scored seven points, tied his career high with nine rebounds and rejected a career-high six shots.
He was an influence inside as UVa started three guards against Elon, scoring 10 points, pulling down six rebounds and blocking one shot in just 19 minutes of action.
The Tallahassee, Fla., native was one of three Cavaliers to lead the team with 16 points against New Hampshire three games ago. He also pulled down seven rebounds and swatted five shots to make his presence felt inside.Hunter is 11th in the nation in blocked shots, averaging 3.2 per game with 29 blocks in nine games.
He has blocked five shots in two of the last three games. He rejected a career-high six shots against Hampton.
One of the fastest shot blockers in the ACC, Hunter has turned away 29 shots in just 217 minutes this season. That’s one every 7.5 minutes. Hunter is second on the team in rebounding (5.4 rpg) and averages 7.7 ppg.
Rookies Providing Scoring Punch
Two of Virginia’s top three scorers this season are freshmen/Chris Williams and Adam Hall.
Williams leads the squad with an 18.5-ppg average, while Hall is third at 13.7 ppg.
There have been several occasions this season where the rookies have ranked 1-2 or 1-3 in scoring for Virginia.
The duo led the way against Hampton on November 25. Hall poured in a career-high 27 points, while Williams added 21 points.
Their performance marked only the second time since 1972-73 (when freshman eligibility was restored) that two Cavalier rookies scored 20+ points in a game. Cory Alexander scored 24 and Junior Burrough 22 against North Carolina on February 19, 1992.
Add walk-on freshman Cade Lemcke’s three points and UVa’s rookies scored 51 points vs. Hampton. That is the UVa record for combined freshmen scoring in a game. The previous record was the combined 46 points by Alexander and Burrough in that 1992 game against North Carolina.
Bomb Squad Ranked 20th Nationally
Due mainly to the presence of NCAA three-point record-holder Curtis Staples, Virginia has been known recently as a team that shoots a lot of three-pointers. The Cavaliers made just two (in 13 attempts) in the season opener against VCU.Since then the Cavaliers are averaging 9.0 three-pointers per game, with 81 in the last nine contests.
Virginia’s long range marksmen are 20th in the nation in three-pointers per game, averaging 8.3 treys per outing.
At their current rate, the Cavaliers would set a school record for most three-pointers per game. The 1994-95 squad holds the current record with 6.8 triples per game.
The UVa bomb squad tied the school record by making 15 threes in 29 attempts in the win over Hampton on Nov. 25. That tied the 15 three-pointers Virginia made in 32 attempts against North Carolina on Feb. 14, 1990.
Rookie Adam Hall was perfect from behind the line, hitting all five attempts. His performance tied two other players for the best perfect game in school history.
Willie Dersch made a run at Hall’s record against Elon. Dersch connected on his first six three-pointers, but missed his last three to finish six of nine against the Fightin’ Christians. The Cavaliers tossed in 13 three-pointers (in 27 attempts) in the game.
Virginia made 11 of 22 three-point attempts against New Hampshire, with Hall leading the way again. The rookie from Katy, Texas, was true on all three of his attempts.
Virginia’s long range shooters connected on 10 threes (26 attempts) against Liberty two weeks ago, marking the fourth time in a five-game span the Cavaliers made at least 10 threes in a game.
The four games with at least 10 three-pointers already this season ties a rather curious school record. Virginia had four games of 10+ threes in 1995, ’96, and ’97.