Virginia Wins Season Opener
November 13, 1998
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Donald Hand scored nine of his 24 points during a 25-6second-half run and Virginia beat Virginia Commonwealth 86-70 Friday night inthe first game of new coaching eras for both programs.
In their first game since Pete Gillen took over at Virginia and MackMcCarthy did the same with the Rams, Hand, fellow holdover Chesley Watson andfreshman Chris Williams seemed to enjoy the up-tempo pace.
Watson added 13 points and Williams had five of his 20 during the spurt,which erased a 44-40 deficit and gave Virginia a 65-50 lead with 9:40remaining. Virginia Commonwealth got no closer than 13 thereafter.
Williams added 10 rebounds and three blocks.
The Rams, who led 37-35 at halftime, shot only 34.3 percent, missing 20 of28 attempts from 3-point territory, and were outrebounded 47-33.
Bo Jones led Virginia Commonwealth with 14 points. Shannon Martin and ScottLilly had 11.
Williams got the game-breaking run started when he scored on a putback with17:58 to play. Watson made a free throw and Hand scored on a 6-footer and athree-point play to make it 48-44 with 15:48 to play.
Virginia Commonwealth scored all six of its points in the streak over thenext 2 1/2 minutes, but then Williams scored on another follow, sparking an 11-0burst.
Gillen, who inherited a team that went 11-19, lost more than half itsscoring and then its coach when Jeff Jones was fired after eight seasons,improved to 275-128 for a career that includes stints at Xavier and Providence.
The Cavaliers started a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors.
McCarthy, an assistant to Sonny Smith last season, fell to 243-123 for hiscareer, which began with 12 seasons at Chattanooga.