- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 27, 2002

CHARLOTTESVILLE Virginia has bounced back well since opening its ACC schedule with consecutive losses to N.C. State at home and at Clemson.
The No. 7 Cavaliers (14-2, 4-2 ACC) beat North Carolina in the Dean Smith Center for only the second time in 17 tries, beat No. 21 Wake Forest at home and won at Georgia Tech for the first time since 1995.
Nothing they've seen, though, is anything like Cameron Indoor Stadium, where the "Cameron Crazies" will be waiting when the Cavaliers play No. 1 Duke (17-1, 5-1) tonight.
"We've got a humongous challenge on Sunday," Virginia guard and tri-captain Roger Mason Jr. said of the game, which will be the first time four of his teammates get to experience one of the most imposing places to play in all of sports.
Mason, a junior, said he won't tell freshmen Elton Brown, Keith Jenifer, Jason Clark and Jermaine Harper much about what they'll likely see and hear tonight.
"I don't really want to hype it up too much, because once you do that, it kind of becomes a mind game," Mason said. "But all they have to realize is they have to do what they've been doing for a long time, and that's just play basketball."
Clark, coming off the best game of his college career in a 93-59 victory against Virginia Military Institute on Thursday night, said he can't wait for the experience.
"I can't wait to play at Duke against Duke, the No. 1 team in the country on national TV," he said after having eight points, nine rebounds and eight blocks against VMI. "That's what I've been waiting for my whole life, playing against a hostile crowd like that."
Virginia broke a 12-game losing streak against Duke with a 91-89 victory at University Hall last year but hasn't won in Durham, N.C., since 1995. The Blue Devils' domination of the series has been remarkable, showing 39 victories in the last 42 games.
Both teams have won five in a row.
The Cavaliers likely will be without guard Adam Hall, expected to miss his fifth straight game with a foot injury, and could again be without starting center Travis Watson. The ACC's leading rebounder missed the VMI game with a hip pointer.
Virginia coach Pete Gillen said there's no pressure on his team to win.
"Duke's the No. 1 team in the country. Every time Jupiter aligns with Mars is when they lose at home. It's not very often. We've got a chance," he said.
"Hopefully we can be healthy, and we're going to have to play a great game, but I'm crazy enough to think we can win. We have to get off to a good start."
The game begins a tough stretch for Virginia, which next plays No. 3 Maryland at home and No. 18 Missouri on the road. It then begins the second half of the conference schedule with rematches against the Wolfpack and at home against Clemson.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide