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Injured Eddie Lucas
scored a team-high 17
points at La Salle.

 

Men's Basketball Preps for St. Bonaventure

Hokies searching for first A-10 victory.


January 16, 1999


Up Next:
Virginia Tech (5-8, 0-4) vs. St. Bonaventure (6-9, 1-3)
January 16, 1999; 2 p.m.
Cassell Coliseum (10,052); Blacksburg, Va.

THE SERIES
This will be the 12th basketball meeting between the men's teams of Virginia Tech and St. Bonaventure University. The Hokies lead the all-time series, 8-3, following a 69-68 overtime victory in Olean, N.Y., last season. The two teams met every season from 1972-73 through 1979-80, then did not play again until Tech's first season in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 1995-96. Tech has won all four meetings between the schools in Blacksburg. The Bonnies' last win against the Hokies came during the 1978-79 season in a runaway at St. Bonaventure, 95-76. Tech has won the last four meetings in the series, including three victories in Atlantic 10 Conference play.

Series Notes:
Tech leads series with Bonnies, 8-3
Hokies won last year, 69-68 in overtime
Tech looks for first A-10 victory

Virginia Tech (5-8, 0-4)
    F - 22  Andre Ray      (6-4, 218, r-Jr.)
    F -  4  Rolan Roberts  (6-6, 237, So.)
    C - 31  Russ Wheeler   (6-8, 253, Jr.)
    G - 55  Eddie Lucas    (6-6, 200, r-Sr.)
    G - 15  Brendan Dunlop (6-2, 185, Jr.)
St. Bonaventure (6-9, 1-3)
    F - 20  Isaac King      (6-5, 220, Sr.)
    F - 40  Terrence Durham (6-7, 231, Sr.)
    C - 21  Caswell Cyrus   (6-9, 213, Jr.)
    G -  3  David Capers    (6-3, 202, Jr.)
    G - 11  Tim Winn        (5-10, 175, Jr.)

The Officials
Referee - Art McDonald
Umpire - Leroy Hendricks
Umpire - Joe Lindsay

TECH IN THE ATLANTIC 10
Virginia Tech is in its fourth season as a member of the Atlantic 10 after spending 17 seasons in the Metro Conference. The Hokies posted a 13-3 A-10 mark in 1995-96 and won the league's West Division regular-season championship. In 1996-97, Tech finished third in the West with a league mark of 7-9 and finished tied for fourth in the West with a conference record of 5-11 last season. The Hokies are 0-4 in conference play this season.

THIS SEASON
Virginia Tech is 5-8 overall and 0-4 in the Atlantic 10 Conference in its second season under head coach Bobby Hussey. The Hokies got on the winning track in their season opener with a 59-50 home victory over William & Mary. Tech suffered its first loss of the season in its next game when East Tennessee State downed Tech, 57-48, at home. The Hokies captured their second win of the season with an 85-51 victory at Liberty. Coach Hussey recorded his 300th career victory when the Hokies recorded an 83-76 overtime victory over UNC Asheville at Cassell Coliseum. Tech then dropped its next three contests, losing at UNC Charlotte (62-57), falling at home to Wake Forest (52-47) and losing at West Virginia (69-68). The Hokies snapped their three-game losing skid with an 85-65 win over Coastal Carolina. Tech closed out 1998 with a 62-55 win over Winthrop. The Hokies opened Atlantic 10 Conference play with a 55-40 loss at UMass. Xavier defeated Tech in the Hokies' Atlantic 10 home opener, 80-67. The Hokies then lost Atlantic 10 road games at St. Joseph's (78-66) and La Salle (75-67) last weekend.

St. Bonaventure is 6-9 on the year and 1-3 in Atlantic 10 Conference play following a 62-57 loss at Xavier Wednesday. The Bonnies also have lost Atlantic 10 Conference games to St. Joseph's (64-48) and La Salle (70-54). St. Bonaventure has recorded victories over Massachusetts (53-50), Liberty (74-64), Rider (61-58), Niagara (70-61), Hawaii (78-69) and Delaware State (81-57). The Bonnies have dropped games to Canisius (61-58), Siena (86-67), Southern California (91-82), Kent (64-49), Northern Arizona (81-70) and Syracuse (71-55).

VIRGINIA TECH COACH BOBBY HUSSEY
Bobby Hussey (Appalachian State '62), long regarded as one of college basketball's top strategists, is in his second season as head coach of the Hokies. Hussey, who served as Bill Foster's top assistant for six seasons at Tech, took over the Hokies' coaching duties on the day following Tech's last game of the 1996-97 season. A former head coach at Belmont Abbey and Davidson College, Hussey is starting his 28th year as a basketball coach, including 19 years as a head coach. He has been a winner at every stop. In 10 seasons as the head coach at Belmont Abbey, Hussey's teams posted a 179-111 record, winning 20 or more games each of his last four seasons on the job. Between 1981 and 1989, Hussey guided Davidson to 108 wins, one NCAA Tournament appearance and a pair of 20-win seasons. He had winning seasons three of his last four years there. Before joining Foster at Virginia Tech, Hussey spent two years as an assistant at Clemson. His overall record as a collegiate head coach is 302-263.

HUSSEY HITS MAGICAL MILESTONE
Virginia Tech coach Bobby Hussey reached a milestone in his long coaching career on December 1 when he recorded his 300th coaching victory. The win came against UNC Asheville, 83-76, at Cassell Coliseum. In 20-plus seasons as a head coach, Hussey is ranked 52nd in victories among Division I coaches, with 302 victories.

ST. BONAVENTURE COACH JIM BARON
Jim Baron, a former player at St. Bonaventure, has an 85-103 overall record in his seven seasons as the Bonnies' head coach. A highlight of his time at St. Bonaventure came in 1994-95 when the Bonnies posted an 18-13 record and played in the National Invitation Tournament. Prior to coaching the Bonnies, Baron was head coach at St. Francis where in five years, he compiled a record of 74 wins and 71 losses. The 44-year-old Baron began his coaching career at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y., in 1977-78 before becoming an assistant coach at the University of Rochester for the 1978-79 season. Baron, who played professionally for the Rochester Zeniths of the Continental Basketball Association, has also been an assistant at Loyola College in Baltimore, Notre Dame and St. Bonaventure.

TECH VS. TEAMS FROM NEW YORK STATE
The Hokies have a 23-6 record versus teams from the State of New York, including an 8-3 mark against St. Bonaventure. Here is the Tech record against other New York teams: 5-0 vs. Fordham; 2-0 vs. Syracuse; 1-0 vs. Fredonia State; 2-0 vs. Canisius; 1-0 vs. Buffalo State; 1-0 vs. CCNY; 1-1 vs. NYU; 1-1 vs. Army; and 1-1 vs. St. John's.

ATLANTIC 10 PICKS
Sophomore forward Rolan Roberts was named All-Atlantic 10 preseason third team at the conference's media day in Philadelphia. The coaches slated the Hokies for a fourth-place finish in the A-10 West Division, behind Xavier, GW and Dayton but ahead of La Salle and Duquesne. Temple was tabbed to win the Atlantic 10 East Division.

LONG RANGE BOMBERS
Since the three-point rule took effect prior to the 1986-87 season, Virginia Tech has made a three-point basket in all but two contests. The Hokies' three-point streak of 277 games ended during the 1995-96 season against GW. Tech then started a new streak that lasted 69 games before the Dayton game last season. Tech has now made three-pointers in the last 17 games played since the Dayton contest.

TECH'S LAST GAME
Virginia Tech's six-day, five-night trip to Philadelphia ended with the Hokies falling to 3-point happy La Salle, 75-67, in front of 1,148 fans at Tom Gola Arena. The Explorers connected on 13 3-pointers, including four each from Victor Thomas and Julian Banks, in beating the Hokies for the third consecutive time. The Hokies trailed by eight at halftime, 37-29, but made a game of it in the second half. Tech cut the lead to 48-43 with just under 12 minutes remaining on Eddie Lucas' two free throws. But a second-half offensive funk hit Tech. The Hokies went almost four minutes without scoring and the Explorers - with the aid of three 3-pointers - went on an 11-0 run to take a 16-point lead. Tech never came closer than seven the rest of the game. Lucas led Tech with 17 while Brendan Dunlop had 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in 40 minutes.

A CLOSER LOOK
Junior guard Brendan Dunlop (Bronx, N.Y.) played one of the best games of his career against La Salle. He scored 13 points to go with a career-high nine rebounds, eight assists and one turnover in 40 minutes played.

Eddie Lucas (Gaithersburg, Md.), who was listed as doubtful for the La Salle game with a sprained left ankle, started and scored a team-high 17 points. He played 38 minutes and also grabbed six boards.

Tech shot a season-high 81.0 percent from the free-throw line against La Salle. The Hokies hit 17 of their 21 attempts from the charity stripe.

La Salle's 13 3-pointers were the most against Tech since Illinois hit 13-of-25 3-pointers during the 1996-97 season. In addition, the Explorers' 27 3-point attempts was the highest amount since Hawaii-Hilo launched the same amount during the 1996-97 season.

Tech did win the rebounding war against La Salle. The Hokies held a 40-32 rebounding margin over the Explorers.

DEFENSE DELUXE
During Tech's last 219 games, opposing teams have shot 50 percent or better against the Hokies just 32 times. During that same span, Tech has held its foes to a shooting percentage of less than 40 percent 89 times. Tech held all of its opponents under 50 percent last season, and 10 under 40 percent. This season, Tech opponents are shooting 40.9 percent from the field.

LAST TWO MEETINGS WITH ST. BONAVENTURE
Capping a career-high 23-point night, forward Rolan Roberts hit the second of two free throws with 2.9 seconds left in overtime to give Virginia Tech a 69-68 victory over St. Bonaventure on the Bonnies' home court on Feb. 11, 1998. The Hokies came back from six points down with 56.5 seconds left in regulation, then stormed back from a five-point deficit in overtime. One of the biggest shots of the game was a left-handed drive off the glass by Brendan Dunlop with 5.6 seconds left in regulation. That tied the game at 56-all and sent it into overtime. Roberts hit a 3-pointer in overtime to start Tech's comeback from a five-point deficit. Roberts had eight rebounds to go with his big point total. Dunlop scored 17. Tim Winn led St. Bonaventure with 21.

Virginia Tech took the lead in the first four minutes of the game and never looked back in handing St. Bonaventure a 92-80 defeat at Cassell Coliseum on Jan. 2, 1997. The Hokies built a 42-32 first-half lead and were never threatened seriously in the second half. Jim Jackson and Ace Custis led the Tech charge with 24 and 21 points, respectively. Myron Guillory scored 16 and Keefe Matthews 11. Guard Troy Manns had a career-high 12 assists for the Hokies. Kenny McFarland led St. Bonaventure with 19 while Rashaan Palmer had 17 and Tim Winn 14.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE BONA SERIES
In four seasons in the Atlantic 10 Conference, Tech has never lost to St. Bonaventure. The Hokies won by 65-58 at St. Bonaventure in 1995-96 and last season by 69-68. Tech beat the Bonnies two years ago in Blacksburg, 92-80. The only other team that has not beaten Tech in A-10 play is Fordham.

When Tech beat St. Bonaventure in overtime last season, it was the first loss last year for the Bonnies at home. They had won nine straight games at the Reilly Center going into that contest.

The Hokies had a season-high 12 steals against the Bonnies last year. SBU committed 21 turnovers in the game, the most by a Tech opponent last year.

Virginia Tech had its best shooting percentage (58.9) of the 1996-97 season in its 92-80 victory over St. Bonaventure in Blacksburg. The Hokies hit 33 of 56 shots from the field in that contest.

St. Bonaventure won the rebounding war by a landslide margin in last year's game. The Bonnies outrebounded the Hokies by a 41-27 count.

A NEW FACE
Virginia Tech, plagued by injuries this season, recently added a walk-on to its roster. Phillip Smith practiced with the team for the first time on December 9. Smith, from Wachapreague, Va., graduated from Broadwater Academy in 1995 and attended the University of Pennsylvania for two years. The 6-4, 190-pound swingman never saw time in a varsity game at Penn. He then decided to transfer to Tech and spent last year as a student. Smith, now a sophomore athletically, practices with the team but is not eligible to dress for home or away games.

OUCH!
Needless to say, the Hokies have certainly been bitten by the injury bug this season. Tech lost redshirt freshman Clinton McPherson (Miami, Fla.) for the season when he tore the ACL in his right knee in late October. McPherson underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery on November 20 at Montgomery Regional Hospital in Blacksburg. Redshirt sophomore David Whaley (Sevierville, Tenn.) missed four games after breaking his right hand in basketball practice on November 23. He returned for the Wake Forest game on December 12. Rodrigo Viegas (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) missed the first game of the season with a pulled hamstring in his right leg.

AHOY, MATE
Three of Tech's players have ties to the Naval Academy. Eddie Lucas (Gaithersburg, Md.), Sean Floyd (Alexandria, Va.) and David Whaley (Sevierville, Tenn.) all transferred to Virginia Tech from Navy. Lucas was a starter for the Mids as a sophomore in 1995-96. Floyd played in one game before transferring after his freshman year. Whaley attended the Naval Academy Prep School for a year and spent one semester at Navy before coming to Tech.

TECH AT CASSELL COLISEUM
Virginia Tech is in its 38th season of play at Cassell Coliseum where the men's basketball teams have compiled 373 victories and just 90 losses - a winning percentage of 80.6. The first basketball game was played in the Coliseum on January 3, 1962 with the Hokies routing Alabama, 91-67. On September 17, 1977, Virginia Tech officials and friends dedicated the Coliseum in honor of the late Stuart K. Cassell. Tech has never finished a season with a losing home record since the Coliseum was opened and has had just one break-even home season. In fact, Tech has won 54 of the last 69 games played at home over the last six years. The Hokies were 8-6 at home last season and are 4-3 this season.

TURNABOUT IS FAIR PLAY
The Hokies entered last season having to replace their top five scorers from the previous year. This season, four of the top five scorers have returned, led by Rolan Roberts and his 13.6 ppg. Also back are Russ Wheeler (9.6 ppg), Eddie Lucas (9.1 ppg) and Brendan Dunlop (7.3 ppg).

ROLAN, ROLAN, ROLAN
Last season, Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team selection Rolan Roberts became the first freshman in 20 years to lead Virginia Tech in scoring. He netted 13.6 ppg to place second among rookie scorers in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The last freshman to pace Tech in scoring was Dale Solomon, who averaged 17.8 ppg in 1978-79. Solomon would go on to lead the Hokies in scoring every year of his career.

MR. ROBERTS' NEIGHBORHOOD
Roberts also set a Tech freshman record with 60 blocked shots last season, eclipsing the previous mark of 56 set by Bobby Beecher during the 1982-83 season.

MORE ABOUT ROLAN'S BLOCK PARTY
Roberts has registered at least one blocked shot in 36 of his 40 games as a Hokie. Last year, he had 60 blocks in 27 games and has 30 in 12 games this year. This season, Roberts had four blocked shots against William & Mary, UNC Asheville and Xavier, three versus Coastal Carolina, Winthrop and La Salle, two against Liberty, WVU and St. Joe's, and one against ETSU, UNC Charlotte and Wake Forest. He needs 15 more blocked shots to break the Tech record for blocked shots by a sophomore. Both Wayne Robinson (1977-78) and Bobby Beecher (1983-84) had 44 during their sophomore campaign.

ATLANTIC 10 HONORS
Rolan Roberts (Woodbridge, Va.) and Dennis Mims (Morganton, N.C.) were named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week and Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week, respectively, for the week of Nov. 30. Roberts scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a Nov. 24 game against Liberty. Mims also posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds against the Flames. Mims earned his second A-10 Rookie of the Week citation for his performance against Coastal Carolina. He posted a career-high 17 points to go with four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one blocked shot.

ELITE HOKIES
In fall testing, all but two records were broken in the Tech basketball strength and conditioning program. Andre Ray (Lillington, N.C.) recorded team-highs in three categories - bench press (340 pounds), back squat (450, tied with Rolan Roberts) and hang clean (275). Ray, Roberts and Eddie Lucas all earned Elite Awards for their efforts. Lucas led the team with 25 pull-ups and set a team record with 54 dips. Guard Sean Floyd (Alexandria, Va.) led the team in the 20-yard shuttle run, finishing in a time of 4.15 seconds.

ASSISTS
Rolan Roberts (Woodbridge, Va.) leads the Hokies in blocks (30), steals (22) and offensive rebounds (39). He is averaging 14.0 points per game, second on the team to Eddie Lucas, and is pulling down 6.5 rebounds per game. Roberts is second on the team in shooting percentage with a mark of 47.8 percent. He is second in the Atlantic 10 Conference in blocked shots with an average of 2.50 per game.

Eddie Lucas (Gaithersburg, Md.) leads Tech in points per game (15.1), 3-point field-goal percentage (43.2) and free-throw percentage (88.5). He has scored 13 or more points in a game 12 times this season and has been Tech's leading scorer or has been tied as the Hokies' leading scorer in eight of the 13 games this season. Lucas has been Tech's leading scorer in six of the last eight games.

Lucas had his double-figure scoring streak of 11 games stopped against St. Joseph's. He missed the majority of the game with a sprained left ankle and scored four points.

Lucas' streak of 11 straight double-figure scoring performances is the most for a Tech player since Ace Custis started the 1996-97 season with 14 straight double-digit games.

Lucas is 23-of-26 from the free-throw line this season. His overall percentage of 88.5 percent would lead the Atlantic 10 Conference, but he is just shy of the minimum 2.5 free-throw attempts per game needed to be ranked in the conference statistics.

Guard Brendan Dunlop (Bronx, N.Y.) is averaging 12.8 points per game over the last 10 games. He had his streak of six straight double-figure games stopped against UMass on Jan. 2, but came back to score 17 points against Xavier and 13 against La Salle. He is now averaging 11.3 points per game and leads Tech in assists with 56. Dunlop scored a career-high 20 points against UNC Asheville earlier this season. He leads the team in minutes played with an average of 34.9 minutes per game.

Freshman Dennis Mims (Morganton, N.C.) is fourth in the Atlantic 10 in blocked shots with an average 1.75 blocks per game. Despite not starting a game this year, he has had five double-digit scoring performances, including 15 against St. Joseph's and 11 against La Salle last week. Mims has upped his scoring average to 7.9 points per game and is shooting a team-best 51.3 percent from the floor.

Center Russ Wheeler (Dalton, Ga.) is tied with Rolan Roberts for the Tech lead in rebounds per game with an average of 6.5. He grabbed a career-high 14 boards against East Tennessee State earlier this season. Wheeler ranks eighth in the A-10 in rebounds per game.

The Hokies have 82 total blocks through 13 games, an average of 6.3 per game which ranks first in the Atlantic 10. Nine different Hokies have tallied blocked shots thus far this year, led by sophomore Rolan Roberts' 30 blocks and freshman Dennis Mims' 21 swats. Tech holds a 82-37 advantage in blocked shots over its opponents. The Hokies had a season-high 10 blocked shots against William & Mary and against Winthrop earlier this season.

Seven of Tech's 11 players are playing more than 16 minutes per game, led by Brendan Dunlop's 34.9 minutes a game. The Hokies' five starters are playing more than 25.4 minutes a game.

Tech's five starters have accounted for 78.9 percent (658 of 834) of the total points scored this season.

After having seven double-figure rebounding performances in the first four games, the Hokies have not had a player pull down 10 or more boards in the last nine games.

MORE ASSISTS
Tech has used the same starting lineup in 12 of its 13 games so far this season. Brendan Dunlop, Eddie Lucas, Rolan Roberts and Russ Wheeler have started all 13 games. Jermaine Kimbrough (Shaker Heights, Ohio) started in place of Andre Ray (Lillington, N.C.) for the Liberty contest. Ray missed the game due to a death in the family.

The Hokies are holding opponents to just 40.9 percent shooting from the field, the third-best mark in the Atlantic 10 Conference. St. Joseph's registered the highest shooting percentage against Tech this season. The Hawks shot 50.0 percent (25-of-52) from the field.

Tech is outscoring opponents by 14 points in the first half. However, the Hokies are being outscored in the second half of play by 12 points.

TECH ON TV
Virginia Tech Sports Today airs weekly through the end of March. The 30-minute show includes highlights, features and interviews on Virginia Tech athletics. The show airs on the following stations: WSLS, Roanoke (noon, Sunday); WKPT, Bristol/Johnson City/Kingsport (12:30 p.m., Sunday); WPEN, Norfolk/Portsmouth/Virginia Beach (9:30 p.m., Tuesday); and Home Team Sports (4 p.m., Tuesday).

ATLANTIC 10 WEBSITE
The Atlantic 10 Conference on the World Wide Web is accessible 24 hours a day at www.Atlantic10.org. The site contains current information on all facets of the Atlantic 10 Conference. During basketball season, standings, notes, schedules/results, statistics, breaking news and other pertinent information will be updated on a weekly basis.

ON DECK
The Hokies will hit the road once again with a three-game road swing. Next Thursday, the Hokies will play at Dayton at 7:30 p.m. Tech and the Flyers split last year's two meetings. Then on Saturday, Tech will travel to Cincinnati to face Xavier at 4 p.m., at the Cincinnati Gardens. The Hokies will be looking to avenge an 80-67 loss to the Musketeers earlier this season. Tech concludes the road trip on Wednesday, Jan. 27, when the Hokies play their final regular season non-conference game against rival Virginia. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., at the Richmond Coliseum.







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