Cavaliers Prep for Elon Matchup
November 27, 1998
Virginia vs. Elon
November 28, 1998 at 7:30 p.m.
The Series vs. Elon
The Cavaliers have won all three games in a series that has a rather curious history. The two schools met three times between 1918-22, but haven’t met since–a span of 77 years. The gap between the most recent meeting and this one is the longest in Virginia history. The longest previous gap was a 70-year gap between games with Loyola (Md.). The Cavaliers met the Greyhounds in 1915, skipped two world wars, a Communist scare and the resignation of an American president before meeting again during the 1984-85 season–a span of 70 years. Interestingly, Virginia plays at Loyola on December 30.
The Fightin’ Christians of Elon have never scored more than 16 points vs. Virginia. To be fair, the first three games in the series were played when the rules of the game were radically different than they are now. The most dramatic rule changes since then are the 10-second center line introduced in 1932-33 to cut down on stalling and the elimination of the center jump after every basket for the 1937-38 season.
Virginia vs. the Big South Conference
This is the first of two games for Virginia against a school from the Big South Conference. The Cavaliers also host Liberty on December 8. This is the fourth consecutive season Virginia has faced a Big South team. Against the eight current members of the Big South Conference, the Cavaliers are 12-1 all-time. Virginia is 4-0 vs. Radford, 3-0 vs. Elon, 3-1 vs. Liberty, and 2-0 vs. Winthrop.
Of the Big South’s current membership, Virginia has never faced Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, High Point or North Carolina-Asheville.There have been seven other schools that have been members of the Big South Conference at one time or another since 1986. Virginia is 12-1 against schools in the Big South at game time.
Offense Explodes in Second Half vs. Pirates
The Cavaliers held a 28-point halftime lead (55-27) against Hampton on Wednesday night. They didn’t let up in the second half, scoring 61 points in the final 20 minutes despite playing the final five minutes with a line-up of walk-ons.Josh Hare’s 24-foot three-pointer put the Cavaliers over the century mark for the first time in two seasons with 5:46 left in the game.
Virginia’s 61 points in the second half are more than the Cavaliers scored in nine games last season.
The Cavaliers have scored 50+ points in three halves already this season after reaching that figure only twice last season.
Fifteen Threes Tie School Record
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 36 in the last four contests.
The UVa bomb squad tied the school record by making 15 threes in 29 attempts in the win over Hampton on Wednesday. That tied the 15 three-pointers Virginia made in 32 attempts against North Carolina on February 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.Hall’s classmate, Chris Williams, added three threes, while Greg Lyons and Chezley Watson chipped in with two apiece. Willie Dersch, Josh Hare and Cade Lemcke each had one vs. the Pirates.
Rookies Provide Scoring Punch
Virginia’s two leading scorers against Hampton on Wednesday were freshmen. Adam Hall led the way with a career-high 27 points, while classmate Chris Williams also set a career high with 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 Virginia’s rookies scored 51 points against 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.
Kris Hunter Returns with a Vengeance
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 Wednesday, he gave the Cavaliers a big spark off the bench. Head coach Pete Gillen labelled 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.
One of the fastest shot blockers in the ACC, Hunter has turned away 12 shots in just 84 minutes this season. That’s one every 7.0 minutes.
Non-Conference Teams at University Hall
Virginia is 169-26 (.867) all-time in University Hall against non-conference opponents since the building opened for the 1965-66 season.
The Cavaliers have won 51 of their last 58 home games against non-conference opponents dating back to the 1989-90 season (basically this decade).Dawn of a New Era
The Pete Gillen Era is in its early stages at the University of Virginia. Gillen was named the ninth head coach in school history on March 28, 1998, replacing Jeff Jones, who resigned following last season. Gillen brings impressive coaching credentials to Charlottesville.
The Cavaliers are 3-2 this season and are playing an up-tempo brand of basketball, the likes of which have not been characteristic of Virginia hoops.
His career record in 14 seasons as a head coach is 277-130 (.681). Prior to coming to UVa, he coached at Providence where he guided the Big East Conference school to a four-year record of 72-53. Two years ago he led the Friars to the NCAA’s “Elite Eight” where they lost in overtime to eventual national champion Arizona in the finals of the Southeast Regional. Under his direction, Providence competed in the NIT in 1995 and 1996.
Gillen’s success at Providence came on the heels of a remarkable nine-year stint as head coach at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. While there, he became the winningest coach in the school’s history with an overall record of 202-75.Inheriting a program that made only two previous NCAA tournament appearances in the school’s history and never won an NCAA postseason game, Gillen led the small Catholic institution to unprecedented national success. The Musketeers participated in the NCAA Tournament seven times during Gillen’s tenure, reaching the Midwest Regional semifinals in 1990. Gillen was named Coach of the Year in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference five times as Xavier won six regular season conference championships and five conference tournament championships under his guidance.
The last few months have certainly been character builders for head coach Pete Gillen, his staff and the Cavaliers. Perhaps that’s what you can expect when you open the season on Friday the 13th.
First, Gillen had a roster that included just seven scholarship players for this season and two of the players were incoming freshmen. A tryout was held in October to add enough players to fill out the roster.
Then in mid-August, University Hall was closed for approximately two months for structural repairs. The repairs forced the team to begin its preseason practice at an on-Grounds recreation center.
Two days after the season opener, starting center Colin Ducharme slipped on some wet steps and broke his ankle. He has since had surgery and is out for an indefinite time.
The recent trip to Alaska for the Top of the World Classic presented the most recent bit of bad news. Three Cavaliers, Willie Dersch, Kris Hunter and Chris Williams, became ill shortly after UVa’s first round loss to Arkansas and had to be hospitalized. Hunter missed the game against Wisconsin the next day, while Dersch and Williams played but were not at full strength.
All told, the Cavaliers played three games in 41 hours in Alaska.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.
The problem was particularly evident last weekend at the Top of the World Classic in Alaska.
In the first round game against Arkansas, Virginia built an early 10-point lead and led at halftime 46-43. UVa maintained the lead until midway through the second half, before the Razorbacks’ depth proved to be too much. Still, Virginia had a chance to win following two missed free throws by Arkansas. But Donald Hand missed a jumper in traffic with approximately 10 seconds left as the Cavaliers ultimately fell 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 (four were three pointers), while shooting 22.7 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes, 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. Hand canned a huge three-pointer with 2:26 left to cut the Cougars’ momentum. The Cavaliers made nine free throws in a row in the final minute and a half to close out the tournament with a 62-53 win.Virginia’s lack of depth was apparent throughout the tournament. The Cavaliers outscored their opponents 111-91 in the first half of the three games, but were outscored 113-90 in the second half. UVa also shot 48.8 percent from the field in the first half vs. 33.3 percent in the second.
Everybody Chips In
With a roster that features just seven scholarship players (only six are healthy right now), it stands to reason that the Cavaliers need everybody to contribute. So far that’s been the case as no player has led the team in scoring in back-to-back games.
Donald Hand poured in a career-high 24 points in the opener against Virginia Commonwealth, while Chezley Watson’s career-high 21 points led UVa vs. Arkansas.Adam Hall and Hand have alternated since then, with Hall leading in two of the last three games.
The three different leading scorers is already as many as UVa had all of last season. Norman Nolan led 20 times, Curtis Staples nine and Colin Ducharme once.
Four Reach Double Figures in Three of Five
Virginia has had three games already this season when at least four Cavaliers scored in double figures (including two games with five players).Led by Norman Nolan inside and Curtis Staples outside, Virginia was primarily a two-man offense last season. UVa had only four games all season with four players in double figures (none with more than four).
Double Double in Debut
Freshman Chris Williams scored 20 points and yanked down 10 rebounds to become only the second freshman in Virginia history since the restoration of freshman eligibility in 1972-73 to record a “double double” in the first game of his career.
He joins Scott Johnson as the only Cavalier rookies to accomplish this feat. Johnson scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 27 minutes in the 1995-96 season opener against Tennessee-Martin.
Williams also became the second Cavalier rookie since the restoration of freshman eligibility in 1972-73 to score at least 20 points in the first game of his career. Jeff Lamp scored 24 in his debut against James Madison in 1977-78.The performances of several notable Cavaliers in their college debuts are listed below.
Who? Opp./Yr. Pts. Rebs.Junior Burrough W&M 91-92 17 6Bryant Stith Dartmouth 88-89 12 6Olden Polynice Lafayette 83-84 8 5Ralph Sampson Johns Hopkins 79-80 17 8Jeff Lamp James Madison 77-78 24 3Marc Iavaroni W&L 74-75 14 9Wally Walker WFU 72-73 7 3
Small Line-up Gets Out-rebounded
With only seven scholarship players on the roster, the Cavaliers suffer from a sheer lack of numbers. The roster includes seven walk-on players, including five selected last month following a tryout from among the student body.
The Cavaliers feature only two players taller than 6-8 and both have been out of action lately forcing Pete Gillen to go to a small line-up. Starting center Colin Ducharme (6-9) is out indefinitely with a broken ankle, while his replacement, Kris Hunter (6-11), missed the Wisconsin game last Saturday due to illness. Hunter’s absence forced Gillen to start walk-on Raleigh Harbour (6-8) at center against the Badgers. It was the first game of Harbour’s career.
Frequently operating with a small line-up, the Cavaliers have been out-rebounded so far this season by an average of 1.6 rebounds per game.
In UVa’s two losses in Alaska, the Cavaliers were out-rebounded by 21 boards.In their three wins, UVa has out-rebounded the opposition by 13.
Walk-on Tryouts Held
With a roster that features just eight scholarship players (only seven can play) and two walk-ons, the Virginia coaching staff conducted tryouts among the UVa student body to round out the roster for the upcoming season. Approximately 40 candidates showed up for the open tryouts on October 20.
Five members of the student body survived a round of drills and interviews to make the team.
The quintet chosen following the tryout join sophomore Greg Lyons and freshman Cade Lemcke to give head coach Pete Gillen and his staff a total of seven walk-on players to use in game preparation.
Gillen readily concedes that playing time for these players may be limited. Josh Hare is expected to see the most action. He has played in every game (started vs. Wisconsin) and is averaging 20.4 minutes per game. He is averaging 3.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.
Raleigh Harbour, a fifth-year student, was pressed into action due to Kris Hunter’s illness and started against Wisconsin. He played 14 minutes, but did not score. He did grab three rebounds.
Jason Dowling and Brandon Lloyd have each played in three games this season. Dowling scored a three-pointer vs. Wisconsin.
Local product Marcus Martin, a high school star at Western Albemarle, has been slowed recently by an injury, but played the final minute against Hampton.The five successful walk-on candidates are listed below.
# Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown5 Brandon Lloyd G/F 6-4 184 Fr. Springfield, Va.21 Jason Dowling G/F 6-2 191 Fr. Brooklyn, N.Y.22 Josh Hare G 6-2 197 So. Vernon, Conn.25 Marcus Martin F 6-5 218 Fr. Charlottesville, Va.55 Raleigh Harbour F 6-8 217 Sr. Hinsdale, Ill.
Watson Tosses in Career-High 21 vs. Arkansas
Sophomore guard Chezley Watson came to Virginia last season with impressive high school scoring credentials after averaging 30 points per game as a senior. With NCAA three-point field goal record-holder Curtis Staples on the UVa roster, Watson didn’t have much of a chance to strut his stuff last season and averaged just 2.2 ppg.
This season, however, Watson clearly seems to be benefitting from coach Pete Gillen’s up-tempo style. He tossed in 13 points in the opener vs. Virginia Commonwealth, which was a career high at the time.
Against #19 Arkansas last weekend, he topped that by pouring in 21 points to lead Virginia. He hit eight of 11 shots from the field, but more impressively, connected on five of six shots from three-point range. His percentage (.833) is tied for the fourth-best three-point percentage in school history.
He has seven three-pointers this season, after having only three all of last season. He has also tied his scoring output of a year ago after just five games this season. He’s scored 58 points this season and is averaging 11.6 ppg.
Rookie Williams Starts Opener
Freshman Chris Williams started at forward for Virginia in its two exhibition games, averaging 23.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in the two contests. He pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with 17 points in the first exhibition game against the Aussie All-Stars on November 3. He came back four days later to score a game-high 29 points and grab seven rebounds against the California All-Stars.His outstanding performances in the exhibition games insured that he would remain in the starting line-up for the season opener against VCU. He became the sixth freshman to start a season opener for Virginia in the 1990s.
Current sophomore Donald Hand started at point guard in last season’s opener.
“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 80.6 points per game, while forcing 18.2 turnovers per game.
Virginia is also shooting 46.3 percent from the field and is getting a lot of shots in transition (such as lay-ups and easy buckets underneath).Virginia’s 116 points last Wednesday against Hampton is the fifth-highest single-game total in school history.
The Cavaliers have also topped 80 points in three of five games this season, the first time UVa has scored 80+ points three times in a five-game span since midway through the 1994-95 season.
Ducharme Undergoes Surgery for Broken Ankle
Center Colin Ducharme underwent successful surgery on his broken left ankle on November 17. Noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Frank C. McCue III performed the surgery at the Virginia Ambulatory Surgical Center in Charlottesville.
McCue inserted a plate and screws to stabilize the fracture and to immobilize the ankle joint which had been widened at the time of injury.
Ducharme’s ankle will remain in a cast for several weeks and may require further immobilization for up to six weeks, according to McCue.
Ducharme broke his left ankle when he slipped on wet steps while walking in Charlottesville on November 15. The junior from Richmond, Va., will be out of action indefinitely.
He scored six points and grabbed five rebounds in the Cavaliers’ 86-70 season opening win over Virginia Commonwealth University.
“Losing Colin Ducharme indefinitely is a tremendous blow to our basketball team,” said UVa head coach Pete Gillen. “I feel very badly for Colin and his teammates that he’s suffered this injury. I know he’ll do the best he can in rehabilitation and get back as quickly as possible.”