Virginia's Youth Movement
Jan. 23, 2002
Virginia’s freshmen played a key role in UVa’s 69 to 65 win over Georgia Tech Tuesday night. Jermaine Harper, whose three-pointer and late game steal helped the Cavs beat North Carolina on January 12, scored five of Virginia’s last ten points in the win over the Yellow Jackets.
“People don’t expect a freshman to make those big plays,”Harper said. “But I’d been in the game for awhile so I didn’t have a problem taking the shots. Coach Gillen told me to take the shots whenever I’m open so I did it in crunch time and made the shots.”
Harper’s classmate, Jason Clark, did not make any shots, but his late-game play was equally important in the victory. Clark contested Georgia Tech guard Tony Akins’ attempt to tie the game in the closing seconds.
“At the end of the game Jason Clark came in and Georgia Tech set a screen,” head coach Pete Gillen recalled. “We switched, Tony Akins drove and Clark went up and put his hand up and altered the shot. The shot went off and we got the rebound. So there were many little things that helped us win.”
A big factor in the victory was the play of Elton Brown. The freshmen posted a career-high 20 points and 10 rebounds on nine of 11 shooting from the field. The play of Virginia’s rookies provides much needed depth to this Cavalier squad.
“Coach Gillen knows what he’s talking about,” tri-captain Roger Mason, Jr. said. “In the beginning of the season he told us the freshmen we’re going to have to help us if we wanted to be any good.”
“People didn’t say this class should be number one or two or they had a number one player,” Elton Brown said. “We’re just a group of good kids and we just like playing basketball and that’s what we came here to Virginia to do.”