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Dec. 18, 2002


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The Game
Virginia (2001-2002: 17-12/7-9 ACC) stands at 4-2 this season. In its last game, UVa defeated East Tennessee State 84-76 Tuesday (Dec. 17) at University Hall. Gardner-Webb (2001-2002: 23-9), which is in its first season in the Atlantic Sun Conference, is 1-5 in 2002-2003. The Runnin’ Bulldogs are coming off a 71-61 loss at Clemson (Dec. 14).

The Series vs. Gardner-Webb
Tonight’s game is the first meeting between Virginia and Gardner-Webb in men’s basketball. The Runnin’ Bulldogs are in their third season as a Division I team and their first season as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Virginia vs. the Atlantic Sun Conference
Tonight’s contest is only Virginia’s second game against a current team from the Atlantic Sun Conference (formerly the Trans America Athletic Conference – 1979-2001). UVa’s first game was against Samford in 1989, an 87-61 victory at University Hall (Nov. 28).

Of the Atlantic Sun’s current membership (12 teams), the Cavaliers are 6-1 all-time. UVa is 3-0 vs. Jacksonville, 1-0 vs. Belmont and Samford, and 1-1 vs. Stetson. Virginia has never faced the eight other league schools: Campbell, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, Gardner-Webb, Georgia State, Jacksonville State, Mercer or Troy State.

A total of 25 schools have been members of the Atlantic Sun Conference at one time or another since 1979. The Cavaliers are 7-1 all-time against teams with Atlantic Sun affiliations. Nicholls State is the only former member of the Atlantic Sun the Cavaliers have played.

Two Starting Times Changed
The starting times for Virginia’s games at Rutgers on December 21 and at Virginia Tech on January 21 have been changed. The Rutgers game will begin at 8:00 p.m. and the Virginia Tech contest will start at 7:30 p.m.

‘Hoos Starting
The Cavaliers have played six games this season and have used six different starting lineups. The only player to start all six games this season is senior forward/center Travis Watson. Junior guard Todd Billet and freshman forward Derrick Byars have both started five of six games. Sophomore guard/forward Devin Smith and sophomore guard Keith Jenifer have registered four starts apiece.

Coming on Strong
Virginia has gotten off to a slow start in its games this season, but has come on strong in the second half. The Cavaliers have been outscored by seven points (210-203) in the first half of games this season. The second half is a different story as UVa has outscored its opponents by 33 points (270-237). Virginia is averaging 33.8 points in the opening half and 45.0 points in the final stanza of games this season.

UVa also shoots the ball much better in the second half. The Cavaliers are shooting 42.4 percent (78-184) from the field in the first half compared to 50.6 percent (89-176) in the second. Virginia has only eclipsed 50 percent shooting in the first half of a game once this season (66.7 percent – 18-27 vs. Long Island). In the second half, UVa has shot 56 percent or better in four of six contests, including 65.4 percent – 17-26 against Chaminade).

Byars Joins Career High Club
Freshman forward Derrick Byars became the latest Cavalier to set a career high in scoring. Byars scored 16 points, including 14 in the second half, in UVa’s 84-76 win over East Tennessee State (Dec. 17). His previous career high was 11 points against Indiana (Nov. 27).

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