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Feb. 5, 2002


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The Game
Virginia, ranked 10th in the AP poll and eighth in the USAToday/ESPN poll, stands at 14-5 overall and 4-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. The Cavaliers are coming off an 81-77 loss to 22nd-ranked Missouri (Feb. 3) at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo. N.C. State, stands at 16-6 overall and 5-4 in the ACC. The Wolfpack is coming off an 89-73 loss to third-ranked Maryland (Feb. 3) in College Park, Md.

The Series vs. N.C. State
N.C. State leads the overall series with Virginia 71-49, but the Cavaliers have won 15 of 22 contests in the last 11 seasons. Since 1980, the Cavaliers are 32-17 in all games against the Wolfpack.

N.C. State won the initial meeting of the 2001-2002 season 81-74 (Jan. 5) at University Hall for its second consecutive win in the series. The Wolfpack also won the second meeting of the 2000-2001 season 90-80 (Feb. 7) in Raleigh. The Cavaliers won the initial meeting last season 88-81 (Jan. 6) in Charlottesville.

The two teams have split the regular season series the last four seasons. Prior to N.C. State’s win in Charlottesville earlier this season, the home team won the last eight regular season meetings. N.C. State hasn’t swept the season series in more than a decade-since winning both match-ups (by a combined seven points) in 1988. Virginia has swept the season series six times since then, but the last time UVa swept the season series was in the 1996-97 season.

The Cavaliers have not found their trips to N.C. State very hospitable over the years, as they have won only 16 of 52 games all-time against the Wolfpack in Raleigh. UVa lost its first two games at the Entertainment and Sports Arena (65-62 – Jan. 12, 2000 and 90-80 – Feb. 7, 2001) and have lost four consecutive road games to N.C. State. UVa’s last win in Raleigh was a 55-46 triumph on February 19, 1997. Virginia was only 15-30 all-time in Reynolds Coliseum (including games in the ACC Tournament) against the Wolfpack.

The Cavaliers have had better luck against the Wolfpack in recent years, particularly in the last 22 years. Since the beginning of the 1980s, the Cavaliers are 32-16 in all games against the Wolfpack. In games in Raleigh since 1979-80, UVa is 11-10, which includes five wins in the last 10 contests.

Cavaliers and Wolfpack Battle to the Wire
The history of the series between these two schools since the late 1970s has been one marked by many closely contested games. Since 1978, 38 of the 54 games have been decided by less than 10 points. UVa is 26-12 (.684) in those games.

Virginia’s last eight wins (going back six seasons) over the Wolfpack have been by a combined 40 points (5.0/g).

Since 1978, four games have been decided by one point, five by two points, six by three points, three by four points and three by five points. It’s curious to note in the long history of the series going back to the first meeting 89 years ago that only three games have gone to overtime. Virginia has been victorious in all three overtime contests. UVa won the first overtime game 81-73 in 1977-78 and won 84-82 in double overtime in 1995-96. In the most recent overtime affair, the Cavaliers won 82-79 in 1998-99. During one stretch (1985-1988) nine consecutive games were decided by nine points or less.

In a bit of an aberration, five of the last seven N.C. State wins in the series have been by double digits-67-54 in 1994, 74-55 in 1998, 82-72 in 1999, 76-65 in 2000, and 90-80 in 2001. The exceptions were a 65-62 Wolfpack win on Jan. 12, 2000, and an 81-74 win earlier this season (Jan. 5).

Earlier This Season vs. N.C. State
Virginia suffered its first loss of the season as it fell to N.C. State 81-74 (Jan. 5) in the Cavaliers’ conference opener at University Hall.

Junior forward/center Travis Watson notched his fourth consecutive and seventh double-double of the season with 20 points and 13 rebounds. The 20 points matched Watson’s career high. Senior forward Chris Williams and junior guard Roger Mason, Jr., both tallied 18 points with Mason dishing out six assists.

The Wolfpack raced out to a nine-point lead (12-3) 2:23 into the contest, but the Cavaliers battled back to take their first lead of the game, 26-24, with 7:42 remaining in the opening half. With the score tied at 31-31 with 5:08 left in the first half, N.C. State outscored UVa 17-6 to take a 48-37 lead at intermission. The Wolfpack shot 60.7 percent (17-28) from the field in the half, including eight of 13 three-point attempts (61.5 percent).

In the second half, the Cavaliers slowly whittled N.C. State’s lead down and pulled within one point, 65-64, on Williams’ baseline jumper with 9:56 to play. UVa had a chance to take the lead, but Anthony Grundy’s steal and layup began a 6-0 Wolfpack run that opened up a 71-64 advantage. N.C. State outscored Virginia 16-10 after Williams’ basket at the 9:56 mark for the 81-74 win.

Both teams shot 49.1 percent from the floor, but NCSU made 11 three-pointers (on 23 attempts) compared to the Cavaliers’ seven (on 20 attempts).

Julius Hodge led N.C. State with 21 points, while Grundy added 19 points and six assists.

Losing Despite Shooting Well
The Cavaliers shot 55.2 percent (32-58) from the field against Missouri (Feb. 3) and lost 81-77. The previous time UVa shot better than 55 percent from the floor and lost was December 18, 1987 when Virginia shot 56.2 percent (27-48) from the field and lost to Old Dominion 74-72 at the Richmond Times-Dispatch Invitational in Richmond, Va.

Leading Free Throw Shooter in ACC History
Junior guard Roger Mason, Jr., is the most accurate free throw shooter in ACC history. Mason retook the lead as the ACC’s most accurate free throw shooter from Wake Forest’s Charlie Davis (1969-71) with a six for six effort from the charity stripe against Duke (Jan. 27). Mason has made 272 of 310 for 87.74 percent, while Davis made 578 of 662 free throws for 87.31 percent.

Mason originally passed Davis for the ACC’s all-time lead with his four for four performance from the free throw line against Florida State (Jan. 20), but fell behind Davis when he went three for four from the line against Georgia Tech (Jan. 22). Mason temporarily passed Davis again when he made his first four free throws against VMI (Jan. 24), but finished the game five for six to slip back to second.

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