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Dec. 2, 1999

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Series vs. St. John’s – St. John’s leads the series with Virginia 5-0. The Red Storm defeated the Cavaliers 95-68 in Charlottesville, Va., last season in the most recent meeting between the two teams. Virginia’s five losses to St. John’s are the most by the Cavaliers to any opponent without a victory.

Today’s game is the fifth game in the series to take place in December.

Two of the five games played in the series were played in Madison Square Garden. St. John’s defeated Virginia 90-71 in the Garden on Dec. 20, 1969, and the Red Storm also beat the Cavaliers 64-58 in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 27, 1986.

Following is a look at the previous five games in the series.

Date Site Score
12/20/59 New York, N.Y. (MSG) 90-71
12/2/67 Jamaica, N.Y. 82-63
1/13/69 Charlottesville, Va. 77-61
12/27/86 New York, N.Y. (MSG) 64-58
12/12/98 Charlottesville, Va. 95-68

Virginia vs. the Big East

The Cavaliers are 43-41 (.512) against the 13 schools in the Big East Conference. Most of the games occurred prior to a school’s membership in the Big East.

In all games against the current membership of the Big East, Virginia is 9-11 vs. Georgetown, 8-8 vs. West Virginia, 7-3 vs. Pittsburgh, 5-1 vs. Notre Dame, 4-1 vs. Villanova, 3-0 vs. Boston College, 3-1 vs. Providence, 2-6 vs. Connecticut, 1-0 vs. Rutgers, 1-1 vs. Syracuse, 0-2 vs. Miami (Fla.) and Seton Hall, and 0-5 vs. St. John’s.

In the most recent game between Virginia and a member of the Big East Conference, the Cavaliers defeated Providence 80-64 last month (Nov. 26) in the Puerto Rico Shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Virginia was the only ACC school to win all three games in the defunct ACC-Big East Challenge held from 1989-91. Syracuse was the only Big East school to win all three games in the challenge.

Last Time at Madison Square Garden

The last time Virginia played at Madison Square Garden, the Cavaliers defeated Notre Dame 81-76 in overtime to win the 1992 National Invitation Tournament (NIT). UVa advanced to the championship game with a 62-56 victory over Florida. Virginia also won the NIT in 1980, defeating Minnesota 58-55 in the championship game and Nevada-Las Vegas 90-71 in the semifinals.

Head Coach Pete Gillen

Pete Gillen is in his 15th season as a collegiate head coach and sports a 292-146 record. Gillen is in his second year as head coach at Virginia. His two Virginia teams have compiled an overall record of 18-18. Gillen has led his teams to postseason play 11 times (eight NCAA, three NIT). He has been selected as the conference Coach of the Year five times – all while coaching Xavier (Midwestern Collegiate Conference).

He successfully began his coaching career at Virginia with an 86-70 win over Virginia Commonwealth on November 13, 1998.

Changes in Virginia’s Starting Lineup

Head coach Pete Gillen has used five different starting lineups and has had a total of nine different players start in the first six games of the 1999-2000 season. Only one player, sophomore Adam Hall, has started all six games.

The Cavaliers opened the season with junior Stephane Dondon and sophomore Chris Williams at forward, and junior Colin Ducharme at center. Junior Donald Hand and Hall started in the backcourt. The combination resulted in a 97-66 win over Elon. In the second game, a 98-57 triumph over VMI, Gillen started freshman Travis Watson at center instead of Ducharme. With the same starting lineup (Dondon, Williams, T. Watson, Hand and Hall) in the third game of the season against South Carolina, the Cavaliers suffered a 73-71 setback.

Gillen changed his starting lineup for the third time against Providence and it resulted in an 80-64 victory. Hall, Williams and Watson remained in the starting lineup, but junior guard Keith Friel and freshman guard Majestic Mapp started in place of Hand and Dondon. The Cavaliers used their fourth different starting combination against Arizona State (Hall, Williams, Watson, Mapp and Hand) and came away with a 70-64 victory.

In a 74-62 loss at Minnesota in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday (Nov.30), Virginia started Willie Dersch, Ducharme, Hall, Hand and Watson.

Nine Different Double Figure Scorers

In just six games in the 1999-2000 season, the Cavaliers have had nine different players score in double figures in a game. Virginia had only seven players reach double figures in scoring last season. Senior forward Willie Dersch became the ninth Cavalier to score in double figures in the 1999-2000 season when he tallied 10 points against Arizona State in the Puerto Rico Shootout on November 27. The other double figure scorers this season are: (only first double digit performance is listed) sophomore guard Adam Hall (12 vs. VMI), junior guard Donald Hand (18 vs. Elon), freshman guard Majestic Mapp (10 vs. Elon), freshman guard Roger Mason (10 vs. Elon), freshman forward/center Travis Watson (15 vs. Elon), sophomore forward Chris Williams (16 vs. Elon), junior guard Keith Friel (14 vs. South Carolina), and junior center Colin Ducharme (10 vs. South Carolina).

Spreading the Minutes Around

True to his word, head coach Pete Gillen is going deep into his bench in 1999-2000. After the first six games of the season, Virginia has nine players averaging double figures in minutes. Sophomore forward Chris Williams is the only player averaging more than 30 minutes per game (30.5).

Only three other players, junior guard Donald Hand (29.7), freshman forward/center Travis Watson (26.8) and sophomore guard Adam Hall (24.5), are averaging more than 20 minutes per contest. The other players averaging double figure minutes are: freshman guard Majestic Mapp (17.8), freshman guard Roger Mason (16.3), junior guard Keith Friel (12.8), senior forward Willie Dersch (12.7) and junior forward Stephane Dondon (10.7). Junior center Colin Ducharme is averaging 9.2 minutes per game.

Not so ‘Free’ Throws

After leading the ACC in free throw percentage (.734) for the first time since 1979 last season, the Cavaliers have struggled from the free throw line in the early portion of the 1999-2000 campaign.

Through the first five games of the season, UVa shot 64.3 percent (110-171) from the free throw line. The Cavaliers hope their performance against Minnesota on Tuesday (Nov. 30) is the beginning of a turnaround. UVa made all eight of its free throws against the Golden Gophers.

Donald Hand and Travis Watson Lead the Way:

Junior guard Donald Hand led the Cavaliers in scoring last season (17.1 ppg.) and is leading the team in scoring through the first six games of the 1999-2000 season (16.3 ppg.). Hand has led the team in scoring in three games. Freshman forward/center Travis Watson is second on the team in scoring (12.8 ppg.) and is the team’s leadiing rebounder (9.3 rpg.). Watson has led the team in scoring twice and in rebounding four times. He has two double-doubles in points and rebounds.

Freshmen Making Significant Contribution:

Three freshmen are playing significant minutes for Virginia in the early part of the 1999-2000 season. Forward Travis Watson, and guards Majestic Mapp and Roger Mason have each seen action in all six of Virginia’s games.

Watson has started five games for the Cavaliers and is the team’s leading rebounder (9.3 rpg.) and second leading scorer (12.8 ppg.). He also leads the team in field goal percentage (60.8 percent, 31-51) and blocked shots (seven), and is tied for second on the team in steals (10). Watson is averaging 26.8 minutes of playing time a game.

Mapp is averaging 6.7 points and 1.0 rebound a game while playing an average of 17.8 minutes. He has started two games and is shooting a team-high 60 percent (6-10) from three-point range. Mapp has 11 assists and nine turnovers.

Mason is averaging 6.0 points and 2.7 rebounds a game. He is averaging 16.3 minutes of playing time a game, and has nine assists and eight turnovers. Mason also has nine steals.

Cavaliers Lose in ACC/Big Ten Challenge:

Virginia shot a season-low 36.4 percent from the field and the Cavaliers were out-rebounded 41-32 in a 74-62 loss at Minnesota in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday (Nov.30). Terrance Simmons paced four Minnesota players in double figures with 15 points, while freshman forward/center Travis Watson scored a game-high 16 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds to lead the Cavaliers.

Turnovers Down against Minnesota:

After turning the ball over an average of 20.4 times a game in the first five games of the season, Virginia turned the ball over just seven times in its 74-62 loss at Minnesota on Tuesday (Nov.30) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Cavaliers forced an average of 24.4 turnovers a game in the first five games of the season, but forced Minnesota into just 11 turnovers on Tuesday.

Shooting Off Against Golden Gophers:

Virginia made 48.1 percent (142-295) of its shots from the field in the first five games of the season, but shot a season-low 36.4 percent (24-66) in its loss at Minnesota on Tuesday night. The Cavaliers held their first five opponents to 39.8 percent shooting from the field, but Minnesota made 55.1 percent (27-49) of its field goal attempts.

Cavaliers Finish Fifth in Puerto Rico Shootout

After dropping its first round game in the Puerto Rico Shootout to South Carolina 73-71 on November 25, UVa won its next two games to finish fifth in the tournament. The Cavaliers defeated Providence 80-64 on November 26, and then posted a 70-64 victory over Arizona State in the fifth place game on November 27.

Junior guard Donald Hand was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 19.3 points in the three contests. He was 20 of 28 (71.4 percent) from the free throw line, including a 14 of 17 effort against Providence. Hand scored a season-high 26 points in the win over the Friars.

No Three-Pointers

Virginia held Arizona State without a three-point field goal on November 27, marking the sixth time since the inception of the three-point field goal in the 1986-87 season that UVa has accomplished the feat. Interestingly, two of the five previous games that Virginia held opponents without a three-pointer came last season in a span of eight days (Loyola 0-7 on 12/30/98 and Maryland 0-7 on 1/7/99).

Only Two in Double Figure Scoring

The Cavaliers had only two players score in double figures in their victory against Providence on November 26, marking the only time this season Virginia has not had at least three players score in double figures in a game. Last season, Virginia failed to have at least three players score in double figures four times, but only won one of those contests (a 65-58 win over Clemson on January 17, 1999).

Back-to-Back 90 Point Games

The Cavaliers scored over 90 points in back-to-back games to open the year for the first time since the 1975-76 season. Virginia began the 1999-2000 season with a 97-66 win over Elon, then defeated VMI 98-57. The last time the Cavaliers scored that many points in the first two games of a season was in 1975-76 when they posted 113-65 and 101-57 victories over Hampden-Sydney and Washington & Lee, respectively.

The combined margin of victory over Elon and VMI (72 points) is the largest in the first two games of a season since 1975-76 when UVa won by 92 points.

Double Double in Debut

Freshman forward Travis Watson became only the third 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. Oddly enough, it is also the second straight year that it has happened.

Watson totaled 15 points and 14 rebounds in only 19 minutes in the season opener against Elon on November 19. He earned his first career start against VMI on November 21 and totaled 16 points (7 of 9 FGs, 2-2 FTs), seven rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and two steals in 25 minutes of action.

Current sophomore Chris Williams opened his UVa career with a 20-point, 10-rebound ‘double double’ against Virginia Commonwealth last season.

The first player to record a double double in his first game was Scott Johnson, who scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 27 minutes in the 1995-96 season opener against Tennessee-Martin.

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 6
Bryant Stith Dartmouth 88-89 12 6
Olden Polynice Lafayette 83-84 8 5
Ralph Sampson Johns Hopkins 79-80 17 8
Jeff Lamp James Madison 77-78 24 3
Marc Iavaroni W&L 74-75 14 9
Wally Walker WFU 72-73 7 3

Travis Watson Continues to Shine

Freshman forward/center Travis Watson has gotten his collegiate career off to a solid start. He leads the Cavaliers in rebounding (9.3/game) and blocked shots (7). Watson is also second on the team in scoring at 12.8 points per game. He is shooting an outstanding 60.8 percent (31-51) from the field. Watson is tied for second on the team in steals with 10. He has a pair of ‘double doubles’ to his credit (vs. Elon and Providence).

Watson’s six-for-six effort from the field against South Carolina on November 25 tied for Virginia’s fifth best perfect shooting game from the field of all time. It is the 11th time that a player has made all six attempts from the field. Prior to Watson, the last UVa player to make every attempt (minimum of five) from the floor was Kenny Turner, who tied the school record with a nine-for-nine effort against Samford on 11/28/89. Jeff Jones (vs. Alabama-Birmingham 3/18/82) also shares the school record with Turner.

Dersch and Hand Elected Captains

Senior forward Willie Dersch and junior guard Donald Hand have been elected captains of the 1999-2000 Virginia basketball team by their teammates. Both players served as captains of the basketball team last season.

In 1998-99, Dersch started 26 of the 30 games in which he played and received the team’s Michael McCann Leadership Award. He averaged 10.2 points and 2.8 rebounds a game last season. The three-year letterwinner is the only senior on the 1999-2000 UVa team.

Hand started all 30 games last season and was the co-recipient of the Bill Gibson Cavalier of the Year Award as the team’s most valuable player. Hand led the Cavaliers in scoring (17.1 ppg), assists (123, 4.1 ppg.), steals (57) free throw shooting (86.2 percent, 162-188) and three-point field goals (50). He was the top free throw shooter in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season. His 41 points in Virginia’s 82-79 overtime victory over North Carolina State last February are a UVa sophomore record and the most points scored by a Virginia player since Barry Parkhill established a school record with 51 points against Baldwin-Wallace during the 1971-72 season.

Ducharme Eighth on Blocked Shot List

Junior center Colin Ducharme is currently eighth on Virginia’s all-time blocked shot list with 78. He needs five more blocks to move past Ted Jefferies (1990-93) into seventh place.

Ducharme is tied with current teammate Chris Williams for the ninth-best single season block total with 41. Ducharme notched his 41 blocks while leading the team in that category in 1996-97. Williams’ 41 blocks came last year. In addition to leading the team in blocks in 1996-97, Ducharme also held that honor in 1997-98 with 34.

Two Exhibition Wins

Virginia won both of its 1999-2000 exhibition games. The Cavaliers defeated the Down Under Bandits 97-67 on November 4 at University Hall. UVa closed the exhibition season with a 94-70 victory over the Nantucket Nectars Naturals on November 10, also at University Hall.

Leaders in Exhibition Games

Sophomore guard Adam Hall led the Cavaliers in scoring in the two exhibition games by averaging 15 points. Junior guard Donald Hand averaged 11 points, including a team-high 16 points against the Down Under Bandits. Junior center Colin Ducharme averaged 13 rebounds per game and added six blocked shots. His return after missing most of the 1998-99 season with a broken ankle gives the Cavaliers a much needed boost in the rebounding department. Freshman forward Travis Watson added 17 points and 13 rebounds in the two wins.

1999-2000 ACC Pre-Season Media Prediction(Indicates first place votes)

Team Points
1. North Carolina (74) 792
2. Duke (16) 712
3. Wake Forest 577
4. Maryland 481
5. NC State 442
6. Georgia Tech 396
7. Virginia 358
8. Florida State 179
9. Clemson 113

Five Players Mentioned for ACC Pre-Season Honors

Virginia had five players receive votes for various 1999-2000 Pre-Season Atlantic Coast Conference teams as selected by the media attending the conference’s 38th annual Operation Basketball held on October 24 in Greensboro.

Headlining the UVa list is sophomore forward Chris Williams who was selected to the pre-season All-ACC second team. Williams also received consideration as the pre-season ACC Player of the Year. Last season, Williams was named the ACC Rookie of the Year and also garnered third team accolades. He was Virginia’s second leading scorer at 16.8 points per game and also led the squad with 7.5 rebounds per outing.

Junior guard Donald Hand was a 1999-2000 honorable mention pre-season All-ACC selection, having received the 13th-most votes. Hand led the Cavaliers in scoring in 1998-99 with 17.1 points per game and was an honorable mention All-ACC pick at the conclusion of the season.

Three members of Virginia’s heralded freshman class received consideration as the 1999-2000 pre-season ACC Rookie of the Year. Point guard Majestic Mapp, guard Roger Mason and forward Travis Watson were among seven league players to receive votes for Rookie of the Year.

Two New Staff Members

Head Coach Pete Gillen welcomes two new members to his staff, Scott Shepherd and Alexis Sherard.

Shepherd and Sherard replace Bobby Gonzalez, who became the head coach at Manhattan College, and Michael Malone, who is now an assistant coach at Manhattan.

Shepherd joins the Virginia coaching staff after spending the last five years as the head post-graduate basketball coach at Hargrave Military Academy.

Sherard is the director of men’s basketball administration. He comes to Virginia after spending last year as an assistant coach at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. No stranger to head coach Pete Gillen, Sherard worked for Gillen for two years (1996-98) as the administrative assistant in the men’s basketball office at Providence College.

Friel Ready to Play

After sitting out the 1998-99 season due to NCAA transfer rules, junior guard Keith Friel is expected to be a major contributor in the 1999-2000 campaign. The 6-4 shooting guard averaged 8.9 points and 2.0 rebounds as a sophomore at Notre Dame during the 1997-98 season. He led the Irish in three-point field goals (45) and three-point field goal percentage (46.4 percent – 45 of 97) that season and provides the Cavaliers with a long range shooting threat. Friel has two years of eligibility at Virginia.

Cavaliers Welcome Five Newcomers

The 1999-2000 Virginia men’s basketball team features five new faces, not including junior Keith Friel. Joining nine returning lettermen, including four returning starters, are Stephane Dondon, Majestic Mapp, Roger Mason, Jason Rogers and Travis Watson.

Dondon, a 6-8 forward from Toulouse, France, is a junior transfer from Collin County Community College. He earned All-North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference honors both seasons at Collin County Community College. He is the school’s all-time leading rebounder (550) and ranks fifth in scoring (859 points). He averaged 14.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in 1998-99 and led the team to a 22-12 record. In 1997-98, Dondon averaged 12.1 points and 8.5 rebounds as the team finished the year with a 20-11 record. Dondon was Collin County Community College’s Two-Year Student-Athlete of the Year Award recipient.

Mapp is a 6-2 point guard from St. Raymond’s High School in New York City. A highly-rated prospect, Mapp was a four-year starter and twice earned All-New York City and All-State accolades. He was a McDonald’s All-America selection and also earned third-team Parade All-America honors.

Mason, a 6-5 guard from Silver Spring, Md., is another freshman guard who is expected to make an impact in 1999-2000. A three-year starter at Good Counsel High School (he started at Sidwell Friends High School as a freshman before transferring to Good Counsel), Mason averaged 18.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game as a senior. He was Powerade ‘Mr. Basketball,’ as the best player in the Washington, D.C. area, as a senior.

Rogers is a 6-10 center/forward from Staunton, Va. He averaged 18.3 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.9 blocked shots per game as a senior at Robert E. Lee High School. Rogers was a unanimous first-team All-State selection by The Associated Press and was also named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia.

Watson, a 6-7 forward from Brookneal, Va., was one of 16 finalists for the USA Basketball Men’s Junior World Championship Team. He withdrew for personal reasons before the final 12-man roster was selected. He will contend for a starting spot on the front line. Watson helped lead Oak Hill Academy to a perfect 31-0 record and a number one ranking in the nation on the USA Today Super 25 list last season. As a senior, he averaged 16 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 1.3 assists and 1.2 blocked shots a game.

Williams and Hall Win Silver

Sophomores Chris Williams and Adam Hall played on the USA Basketball Men’s Junior World Championship Team that earned a silver medal at the 16-team 1999 FIBA Men’s Junior World Championships in Portugal in July. Williams, the 1998-99 ACC Rookie of the Year and All-ACC third-team pick, set a tournament record for the USA with 12 blocked shots during the competition. He averaged 10.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Four Starters Return for 1999-2000

The Cavaliers return four starters from last season, Donald Hand, Chris Williams, Willie Dersch and Chezley Watson. In addition, UVa also returns Adam Hall, who started 17 games, and Colin Ducharme, a two-year starter, who was injured after last year’s season-opener. A total of nine lettermen are back to take the hardwood in 1999-2000.

With the return of the nine letterwinners, it’s not surprising that Virginia returns from last season:

95.3 percent (245 of 257) of the steals92.9 percent (382 of 411) of the assists91.0 percent (1986 of 2183) of the points85.6 percent (5,176 of 6,050) of the minutes82.1 percent (814 of 992) of the rebounds

Blocked shots is the only category where the Cavaliers lost a higher percentage than they return. Virginia returns players that accounted for 41 percent (64 of 156 blocks) of its blocked shots. The good news on the blocked shot front is Colin Ducharme, who swatted 75 shots in his first two seasons, returns.

Ducharme Living on The Lawn

Redshirt junior Colin Ducharme was selected to live in one of Virginia’s prestigious Lawn rooms during the 1999-2000 academic year. He is the 15th men’s basketball player to be chosen to live on The Lawn and the first since Matt Blundin, who played both basketball and football at Virginia, lived on The Lawn in 1992.

Ricky Stokes (1984), Ralph Sampson (1983) and Terry Gates (1980) are the other most recent basketball players to live on The Lawn.

Associated Press Top-25 College Basketball Poll
(Released Nov. 29)

Team (First-place votes) Record Points….. Previous Rank
1. Cincinnati (55) 4-0 1,671 1
2. North Carolina (7) 3-0 1,567 4
3. Stanford (4) 5-0 1,541 9
4. Arizona (2) 4-0 1,511 8
5. Connecticut 3-1 1,332 7
6. Kansas 4-0 1,308 10
7. Auburn 2-1 1,248 2
8. Michigan St 3-1 1,202 3
9. Texas 4-0 1,083 20
10. Temple 1-1 938 5
11. Florida 3-1 918 6
12. UCLA 2-0 911 13
13. Kentucky 3-1 878 11
14. Syracuse 3-0 781 14
15. Ohio St 0-1 736 12
16. Illinois 2-0 657 15
17. Duke 3-2 594 16
18. Tennessee 3-0 569 17
19. Purdue 2-1 449 22
20. Utah 2-1 388 19
21. Oklahoma St 4-0 371 21
22. DePaul 3-1 357 18
23. Indiana 2-0 250 NR
24. Maryland 4-1 230 24
25. Gonzaga 2-0 176 25
Dropped Out: Iowa (23rd)

Others Receiving Votes: Miami Fla 126, St. John’s 80, Oklahoma 77, Wake Forest 73, Creighton 13, Georgia Tech 13, Iowa 10, Tulsa 9, Murray St 6, Siena 5, Notre Dame 4, UNLV 4, Virginia 3, Wyoming 3, Dayton 2, So. Mississippi 2, Xavier 1, Delaware 1.

Virginia is 4-2 overall this season.

The Cavaliers are coming off a 74-62 loss at Minnesota in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday (Nov.30). St. John’s enters the game with an overall record of 3-1 after a 75-52 victory at home over Coppin State on Wednesday (Dec.1).


Today’s game will be televised by HTS and ESPN Regional.


All UVa games are heard on the Virginia Sports Network orgininating at WINA/WQMZ in Charlottesville. Mac McDonald calls the play by play. Jim Hobgood provides the analysis.

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