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Jan. 18, 2002


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The Game
Virginia, ranked 10th in the AP poll and ninth in the USAToday/ESPN poll, stands at 11-2 overall and 2-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. The Cavaliers are coming off an 86-74 victory over 14th-ranked Wake Forest (Jan. 15) at University Hall. Florida State stands at 9-6 overall and 2-2 in the ACC. The Seminoles are coming off an 81-71 win over North Carolina (Jan. 16) in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Series vs. Florida State
Virginia holds a 12-8 lead in the series with Florida State. The Cavaliers swept the 2000-2001 season series from Florida State for the first time since 1996-97. UVa won the first meeting last season, 89-71 (Jan. 16) in Charlottesville. Virginia earned the sweep with a 69-66 victory (Feb. 17) in Tallahassee on Roger Mason’s three-pointer with one second remaining.

The Cavaliers have won four of the last five meetings after FSU won three consecutive contests (71-63 and 88-63 in the 1997-98 season and 72-69 in the 1998-99 campaign). Virginia is 6-4 versus Florida State at University Hall and has won its last two home contests against the Seminoles after losing the previous two. UVa defeated Florida State 89-71 last season while the Seminoles’ last win over Virginia at University Hall was a 72-69 triumph (Dec. 1) in the 1998-99 season.

Overall in the series, eight of Virginia’s 12 wins over the Seminoles have been by nine points or less, while three of its losses have been by 15 or more points. In addition, four of FSU’s last five wins have been by fewer than nine points. Five of the last six meetings (dating back to the 1998-99 season) have been decided by seven points or less. The only game that was decided by more than seven points was the first meeting last season which UVa won by 18 points (89-71). The Cavaliers have won three of those five close games.

Hall to Miss Today’s Game
Senior guard/forward Adam Hall is not expected to play in today’s game against Florida State after injuring his right foot with 41 seconds left in UVa’s game against North Carolina (Jan. 12). He also missed Virginia’s game against Wake Forest (Jan. 15). Hall has a partial tear of the plantar fascia (dense tissue that supports the arch) on the bottom of his right foot. Hall will rest and rehabilitate the injury and it’s uncertain how long he will be out of action.

Hall is averaging 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this season, and is averaging 27.8 minutes per game. He started the first 11 games of the season, but came off the bench in UVa’s victory over North Carolina. Hall played 24 minutes and scored eight points with four steals, three assists and one rebound against the Tar Heels.

Two Freshmen Earn First Starts
Freshman forward Elton Brown earned his first collegiate start against Clemson (Jan. 8) and then freshman guard Keith Jenifer received his first start against North Carolina (Jan. 12). Jenifer also started against Wake Forest (Jan. 15). Brown started in place of junior Travis Watson, who did not practice the two days before the Clemson game after experiencing cramping in his legs against N.C. State on January 5. Jenifer started in place of senior forward/guard Adam Hall.

In 19 minutes of playing time, Brown tallied four points and three rebounds against Clemson. Against North Carolina, Jenifer equaled his career high with nine points and added four assists, three rebounds and one steal in 24 minutes of action. Jenifer had four points and three assists while playing a career-high 25 minutes against Wake Forest.

Prior to the freshmen earning their first starts, the fivesome of J.C. Mathis, Chris Williams, Travis Watson, Roger Mason, Jr., and Adam Hall started the first 10 games of the season.

Freshmen Stepping Up
Virginia’s four scholarship freshmen, Elton Brown, Jason Clark, Jermaine Harper and Keith Jenifer, have been reliable members of the Cavaliers’ playing rotation all season. With only six scholarship players returning from last season, Virginia needed the four freshmen to step up and they have.

Brown has made one start (Clemson – Jan. 8) and is averaging 7.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. He has scored in double figures four times with career highs of 16 points against Wagner (Nov. 16) and Howard (Nov. 21). He is averaging 14.1 minutes per game and is shooting 54.3 percent (38-70) from the field. Brown was named the ACC Rookie of the Week on December 24.

Clark leads the Cavaliers with 16 blocked shots, including a career-best three blocks against East Tennessee State (Nov. 18) and Charleston Southern (Dec. 17). He blocked at least one shot in each of his first eight collegiate games. Clark is averaging 12.6 minutes, 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game and has played solid interior defense. He has made 13 of 17 free throws (76.5 percent) and is also shooting 44.8 percent (13-29) from the field.

Harper is evolving into an outside shooting threat for the Cavaliers. He is shooting 52.4 percent (22-42) from the field, including 7-19 (36.8 percent) from three-point range. Harper has made four of nine (44.4 percent) attempts from three-point range in his last three games. He is 11-12 (91.7 percent) from the free throw line and is averaging 13.4 minutes, 4.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. Harper has reached double figures in scoring twice, including a career-best 12 points against Grambling (Dec. 30).

Jenifer has started at point guard for UVa the last two games (North Carolina – Jan. 12 and Wake Forest – Jan. 15). He is averaging 15.9 minutes per game and has played a total of 49 minutes in his two starts. Jenifer is averaging 2.9 points, 2.2 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game. He is averaging 5.5 points per game in ACC play, including a career high nine points against both Clemson and North Carolina.

The Cavaliers are off to an excellent start in the rebounding department. UVa has outrebounded its opponents by an average of 7.7 per game (42.6 to 34.9), which is third among all ACC teams. Virginia has outrebounded its opponent in 10 of 13 games. In the games UVa has outrebounded its opponent, the narrowest margin has been by two rebounds (N.C. State, 33-31). The Cavaliers have outrebounded their opponent by nine or more rebounds seven times.

Virginia Tech (50-41) and Charleston Southern (41-40) are the only teams to outrebound UVa in a game. In UVa’s game against Clemson, both teams had 43 rebounds.

The Cavaliers averaged 39.0 rebounds per game last season, while their opponents averaged 33.4 boards per game.

17 Rebounds
Junior forward/center Travis Watson pulled down 17 rebounds against Wake Forest (Jan. 15), establishing a new career high. Watson had eight offensive rebounds and nine defensive boards in surpassing his former career high of 16 rebounds vs. Duke (Jan. 5, 2000) and UMBC (Dec. 23, 2000).

The last UVa player to grab 17 rebounds in a game was Adam Hall, who pulled down the 17 boards against Wake Forest (Feb. 3, 2001).

In addition to the 17 rebounds, Watson tied his career high with 20 points for his eighth double-double of the season and 29th of his career.

Seven Threes
Junior guard Roger Mason, Jr., had made just two of his last 16 three-point attempts in his previous two games, but exploded for a career-best seven trifectas against Wake Forest (Jan. 15). Mason was seven of 13 from beyond the three-point line and scored a season-high 25 points against the Demon Deacons. His previous season high for points was 24 in UVa’s season-opener against Wagner (Nov. 16).

Mason’s seven threes are the most in a game by a UVa player since Curtis Staples made seven against North Carolina on February 1, 1998. Mason’s previous career best for threes in a game was five on four occasions.

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