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Andre Ray leads Virginia
Tech against UNC Asheville.


Virginia Tech Hosts UNC Asheville

Men's hoops holds 2-0 series lead.

December 1, 1998

Virginia Tech (2-1) vs. UNC Asheville (1-2)
December 1, 1998, 7:00 p.m.
Cassell Coliseum (10,052), Blacksburg, Va.
  • Two teams meet for the first time since '92
  • Hokies have won both meetings
  • Coach Hussey needs one win for No. 300
  • Hokies are 1-1 at home this season

Tonight's game will be just the third men's basketball meeting between Virginia Tech and the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Tech won the first game between the two schools, 83-62, at Cassell Coliseum during the 1989-90 season. The Hokies also captured the second contest with a 91-71 victory at Cassell Coliseum during the 1992-93 season.
Virginia Tech (2-1)
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.)

UNC Asheville (1-2) F - 12 Kevin Martin (6-5, 185, Sr.) F - 50 Matt Osikowicz (6-7, 205, Jr.) C - 40 Adam Earnhardt (7-0, 220, So.) G - 3 Mike Matthews (6-2, 190, Sr.) G - 20 Juelian Flowers (6-3, 185, Sr.)

The Officials Referee - Bryan Kersey Umpire - Frankie Bordeaux Umpire - Kelly Lombard

Tech is 2-1 in its second season under head coach Bobby Hussey. The Hokies got off on a winning track in their season opener with a 59-50 victory over William & Mary at Cassell Coliseum. Tech suffered its first loss of the season in its next game when East Tennessee State University downed Tech, 57-48, at home. The Hokies captured their second win of the season with an 85-51 victory at Liberty last Tuesday.

UNC Asheville is 1-2 on the season under third-year head coach Eddie Biedenbach. The Bulldogs dropped their first two contests, falling 101-64 at Purdue and then losing a 105-59 game at St. John's in the first round of the CHASE NIT. UNCA bagged an 88-74 victory over Tennessee Tech last Saturday at home.
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 299-256.
Eddie Biedenbach (North Carolina State '68), the 1997 Big South Conference Coach of the Year, is in his third year as head coach of the UNC Asheville basketball program. Biedenbach has led UNCA to two straight Big South Conference regular-season titles and the program's first outright regular-season crown in 1998. The Bulldogs advanced to the Big South Conference championship for the first time in eight years and just missed going to the NCAA Tournament. Biedenbach began his nine-year coaching career at N.C. State as an assistant under head coach Norm Sloan. Biedenbach's first head coaching job was at Davidson College for three seasons (1978-81). From Davidson, he moved to Georgia as an assistant coach on Hugh Durham's staff for eight years. A native of Pittsburgh, Biedenbach became UNCA's fifth head coach in May of 1996. His overall collegiate head coaching record stands at 67-72, including a 38-21 mark at UNCA.
Virginia Tech is in its 38th season of play at Cassell Coliseum where the men's basketball teams have compiled 370 victories and just 88 losses - a winning percentage of 80.8. 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 52 of the last 65 games played at home over the last six years. The Hokies were 8-6 at home last season and are 1-1 this season.
Since gaining conference affiliation in 1978, Tech has posted a record of 212 wins and 107 losses against non-conference teams. Tech is 127-18 (88.1) at Cassell Coliseum versus non-conference foes since becoming a league member in 1978. Tech was a member of the Metro Conference for 17 seasons before joining the Atlantic 10 Conference in February, 1995.
During the past eight seasons, all but two non-conference teams that have visited Cassell Coliseum have shot less than 50 percent from the field against the Hokies. In Tech's 49 non-conference games at the Coliseum during that eight-year span, the combined field goal percentage for the visitors has been 36.5 percent (1,022 of 2,803). Over the eight-year period, only 12 non-conference visitors - Clemson, East Tennessee State (twice), Marquette, West Virginia, Morgan State, Liberty, Tennessee, Florida International, UNC Greensboro, Georgia, UT Martin and Radford - have shot over 40 percent on Tech's home floor, while seven others - Florida Atlantic, Xavier, George Mason, Western Carolina, VMI, William & Mary (twice) and Coastal Carolina (twice) -hit less than 30 percent. Marquette and Georgia are the only non-conference visitors to hit 50 percent or more since the beginning of the 1991-92 season. Marquette shot 51.1 percent at Tech in 1993-94, while Georgia shot 54.1 in 1996-97.
During the last 20 seasons, Tech's magic number against non-conference opponents at Cassell Coliseum has been 70 points. Tech has a 97-percent success rate against non-league visitors when it reaches that 70-point mark, having won 113 of 116 games. Marquette (93-90 in 1988-89), Missouri (104-99 in 1988-89) and Marshall (77-73 in 1989-90) are the only non-conference teams during that span that Tech has lost to at home when scoring 70 or more points.
During Tech's last 209 games, opposing teams have shot 50 percent or better against the Hokies just 31 times. During that same span, Tech has held its foes to a shooting percentage of less than 40 percent 85 times. Tech held all of its opponents under 50 percent last season, and 10 under 40 percent. This season, Tech opponents are shooting 34.7 percent from the field.
The Hokies are 1-1 on their home court this season and 1-0 in games played away from Cassell Coliseum.
Virginia Tech had four players record double figures en route to an 85-51 victory over Liberty University in front of 6,223 fans at the Vines Center in Lynchburg, Va., last Tuesday. The Hokies, now winners of six straight against the Flames and 12 of 13, scored on four of their first six possessions and never looked back. Tech shot 52.9 percent from the field in the first half and led 42-19 at halftime. The Hokies piled it on in the second half and Liberty never came closer than 21 points the rest of the game. Rolan Roberts (Woodbridge, Va.) and Eddie Lucas (Gaithersburg, Md.) led the way with 17 points each on a combined 14-of-22 shooting. Jermaine Kimbrough (Shaker Heights, Ohio), who made his first start as a Hokie, finished with 14 points and Dennis Mims (Morganton, N.C.) added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Russ Wheeler (Dalton, Ga.) contributed with 10 rebounds, while Brendan Dunlop (Bronx, N.Y.) added seven assists and six steals. Tech outrebounded Liberty by an astounding 57-30 and recorded 27 offensive rebounds. The Hokies also held Liberty to 36.8 percent shooting from the field and held leading scorer C.J. Cowgill scoreless for the game.
Tech's 57 rebounds against Liberty were the most for a Tech team since the 1992-93 team grabbed 55 boards in a double overtime loss to Southern Mississippi. The last time a Tech squad had more rebounds in a game was the 1988-89 season opener when the Hokies pulled down 63 rebounds against Wofford.

The Hokies pulled down 27 offensive boards against the Flames, their highest total on the offensive glass since a 1990 Metro Tournament game against Southern Mississippi. Tech had 29 offensive rebounds in that tourney game with USM.

Tech had 77 field-goal attempts against Liberty, marking its highest shooting attempt total since a 1994 game against VMI. The Hokies had 83 attempts from the field in that game with the Keydets.

All nine Hokies who dressed for the Liberty game played at least 11 or more minutes. In addition, all nine of the Techmen recorded points in the scoring column.

Despite the fact that Brendan Dunlop scored just seven points against Liberty, he did register career highs in two categories. Dunlop's six steals were a career-best, while his seven assists tied his career high set against Temple last season.
Tech jumped to a 19-2 lead in the first six minutes of play and went on to post a 91-71 victory at Cassell Coliseum against UNC Asheville on Dec. 22, 1992. The Hokies used balanced scoring and a defensive effort that forced 21 turnovers to secure the victory. Freshman Jim Jackson led four Tech players in double-figure scoring with 16 points. UNCA guard Josh Kohn turned in a game-high 18 points, but the Bulldogs shot just 36.4 percent for the game.
Former Hokie standout David Jackson began his collegiate basketball career at UNCA. Jackson, who finished up his career at Tech in 1996, faced his twin brother Jim in the 1992 meeting between the two schools. In that game, Jim had 16 points and David tallied 11. Jim transferred to Tech after the 1992-93 season.

Tech coach Bobby Hussey had a lot of success against UNCA during his time as a head coach at Belmont-Abbey College. Hussey accumulated an 11-5 record against the Bulldogs when the two schools were members of the NAIA District 26 League.
Sophomore forward Rolan Roberts (Woodbridge, Va.) and freshman forward Dennis Mims (Morganton, N.C.) have received the weekly awards from the Atlantic 10 Conference for their outstanding performances against Liberty. Roberts earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors with 17 points and 10 rebounds against the Flames. Mims earned the A-10 Rookie of the Week citation after he posted 12 points and 12 rebounds in that game.
Virginia Tech is beginning 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.
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 Atlantic 10 West Division, behind Xavier, George Washington and Dayton but ahead of La Salle and Duquesne. Temple was tabbed to win the Atlantic 10 East Division.
The Hokies entered last season having to replace their top five scorers from the previous year. This season, four of the top five scorers return for Tech, 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).
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 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.
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 seven games played since the Dayton contest.
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 his right ACL in late October. McPherson underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery on Nov. 20 at Montgomery Regional Hospital. Redshirt sophomore David Whaley (Sevierville, Tenn.) will miss 4-6 weeks after breaking his right hand in basketball practice back on Nov. 23.
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. 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.
Rolan Roberts also set a Virginia Tech freshman record with 60 blocked shots last season, eclipsing the previous mark of 56 set by Bobby Beecher during the 1982-83 season.
Rolan Roberts has registered at least one blocked shot in 27 of his 30 games as a Virginia Tech Hokie. This season, Roberts had four blocked shots against William & Mary, two against Liberty and one against ETSU.
Junior center Russ Wheeler (Dalton, Ga.) has reached double-figure rebounding in each of the Hokies' first three games of 1998-99 and is trying to put together four straight double-figure performances. Wheeler had a career-high 14 boards against ETSU and 10 rebounds against both William & Mary and Liberty.
After making just 12 of his first 31 shot attempts (38.7 percent) this season, Eddie Lucas (Gaithersburg, Md.) found his shooting eye against Liberty. The senior made 7 of 10 shots from the floor, including three of his four 3-point attempts.

Eddie Lucas recorded a career-best 11 rebounds against W&M, shattering his previous best of six boards set last season against Duquesne.

Tech has had six double-figure rebounding performances in its first three games. Russ Wheeler leads the team with three, while Eddie Lucas, Dennis Mims and Rolan Roberts each have one.

William & Mary shot 27.9 percent from the field against Tech. Fordham was the last Tech opponent to shoot under 28 percent in a game. The Rams shot 22.9 percent from the field during a 1996-97 game against the Hokies.

Tech recorded 10 blocks against the Tribe in the opening game on Nov. 14. The last time the Hokies tallied 10 or more blocks in a game was 1993, when Tech set a school record with 15 blocked shots against Coastal Carolina.

Junior guard Sean Floyd (Alexandria, Va.) tallied his first collegiate points against the Tribe. Floyd transferred from the Naval Academy and saw action in four games last season for Tech.

With six blocks against Liberty, the Hokies now have 25 total blocks in three games. Eight different Hokies have tallied blocked shots thus far this year, led by freshman Dennis Mims' (Morganton, N.C.) eight swats followed by Rolan Roberts' seven blocks. Tech holds a 25-5 advantage in blocked shots over its opponents.
Tech will travel to Charlotte this Saturday for a 7:35 p.m. tipoff with UNC Charlotte at Halton Arena.

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