Men's Basketball Opens ACC Season Against Florida State
November 30, 1998
Virginia vs. Florida State
December 1, 1998 at 8:00 p.m.University HallCharlottesville, Va.
The Series vs. the Seminoles
Virginia leads the series with Florida State 8-6, including a 4-3 record at University Hall. The Seminoles won last season’s battle in Charlottesville 71-63 and also took the game in Tallahassee 88-63. Last season’s sweep was Florida State’s first against Virginia.
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 three wins at University Hall have been by a combined 14 points–64-63 in 1992, 69-64 in 1996 and 71-63 last season.
Overall in the series, five of Virginia’s wins over the Seminoles have been by nine points or less, while three of its losses have been by 15+ points.
Cavaliers Open ACC Play Tonight
Virginia opens its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule tonight against Florida State. Duke has been Virginia’s traditional ACC opener, but the Cavaliers opened against Florida State four consecutive seasons (1993-96).
The Cavaliers have lost their conference opener the last three seasons, including a 69-64 decision to the Seminoles to start the 1995-96 ACC schedule.All-time Virginia is 19-26 in ACC openers. The Cavaliers are 8-12 against Duke, 3-1 vs. Florida State, 1-0 vs. Georgia Tech, 1-7 vs. Maryland, 0-3 vs. North Carolina, 0-1 vs. Clemson and N.C. State, 5-1 vs. Wake Forest and 1-0 vs. South Carolina in ACC openers.
Fifty-Point Halves the Norm at Home
The Cavaliers have scored at least 100 points in both games at home this season and the scoring has been pretty much even between the first and second half in each game.
In addition, the Cavaliers have scored at least 50 points in all four halves at University Hall.
Virginia scored 55 points in the first half last Wednesday against Hampton and 61 in the second half.
On Saturday, UVa scored 50 first half points and 56 in the second.
Offense Explodes in Second Half vs. Hampton
The Cavaliers held a 28-point halftime lead (55-27) against Hampton last 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 five halves (including all four at home) 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 9.8 three-pointers per game, with 49 in the last five contests.
The UVa bomb squad tied the school record by making 15 threes in 29 attempts in the win over Hampton last 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.Willie Dersch made a run at Hall’s record Saturday night 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) on the evening to run their two-game total to 28.
Rookies Provide Scoring Punch vs. Hampton
Virginia’s two leading scorers against Hampton last 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 last 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.
He was an influence inside as UVa started three guards against Elon Saturday night. The Tallahassee, Fla., native scored 10 points, pulled down six rebounds and blocked one shot in just 19 minutes of action.
One of the fastest shot blockers in the ACC, Hunter has turned away 13 shots in just 103 minutes this season. That’s one every 7.9 minutes.
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 4-2 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 278-130 (.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 at the recent 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 led in two of the next three games, with Hand leading in the other.Last Saturday night against Elon it was Willie Dersch’s opportunity to carry the scoring load. Dersch, who connected on his first six three-pointers in the contest, finished with a career-high 26 points. The performance marked the first time in his career he led the team in scoring.
The four different leading scorers is already more than UVa had all of last season, when Norman Nolan led 20 times, Curtis Staples nine and Colin Ducharme once.
Four Reach Double Figures in Four of Six
Virginia has had four games already this season when at least four Cavaliers scored in double figures (including three 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).
Virginia has had five players in double figures in each of the last two games.
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 in October following a tryout from among the student body.
The Cavaliers feature only two players taller than 6-8, but only Kris Hunter is available for action. (Colin Ducharme is out with a broken ankle.)
Hunter missed the Wisconsin game 10 days ago due to illness. His absence forced head coach Pete 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 0.8 rebounds per game.
In UVa’s two losses, the Cavaliers were out-rebounded by 21 boards.In their four wins, UVa has out-rebounded the opposition by 16.
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 has seen the most action. He has played in every game (started vs. Wisconsin and Elon) and is averaging 21.2 minutes per game. He is averaging 3.5 points and 2.5 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 four games this season. Dowling scored a three-pointer vs. Wisconsin, while Lloyd put the Cavaliers over the century mark against Elon on Saturday.
Local product Marcus Martin, a high school star at Western Albemarle, has been slowed recently by an injury, but has played in the last two games.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.