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March 16, 2013

Quick hits from NC State's win over Virginia



GREENSBORO — Quick hits and notes from NC State's 75-56 victory over Virginia in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament Friday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum in front of an announced sellout crowd of 22,169.

Play of the game

After the game, head coach Mark Gottfried went into a bit of a rant after the game about senior wing Scott Wood not even making honorable mention all-ACC. He was referencing how Wood took over the game Friday afternoon.

Wood launched and made three straight three-pointers in a 1:22 span to start the second half, the last of which gave NC State a commanding 41-25 lead with 17:29 to go and forced Virginia to call a quick second half timeout. For the conservatively-paced Cavaliers, 16 points would prove too much to overcome.

Highlight of the game

Wood's second of his seven made three-pointers came on a pretty fast break orchestrated by freshman point guard Tyler Lewis. Lewis sprinted to grab the long defensive rebound off a missed three-pointer from Virginia junior wing forward Joe Harris. Lewls then finished the fast break with a behind-the-back pass to a trailing Wood for a three-pointer to give NCSU a 27-16 with 4:09 to go in the first half.

Player of the game

This might as well be the Scott Wood-sponsored version of quick hits. His long-distance shooting was a true difference maker Friday. Wood made 7 of 12 shots, all from three-point range. His 23 points matched his season-high from the home win over St. Bonaventure Dec. 22.

His seven three-pointers not only matched his career high from when he torched Florida State by making 7 of 11 threes as a freshman in Tallahassee, Wood moved past former NCSU guard Rodney Monroe to become the school's all-time leader in career made three-pointers with 326.

Wood also moved into sixth place all-time in ACC history, three shy of former Wake Forest star guard Randolph Childress for fifth. Wood is 27 of 59 overall in ACC Tournaments shooting threes, and he is third all-time in league history in three-pointers made at the event, trailing Childress by nine and former Duke guard J.J. Redick by 13.

Wood improved to 28-of-52 shooting three-pointers in the Greensboro Coliseum.

His shooting though may have overshadowed the defense that Wood performed on Harris, Virginia's first-team all-conference selection. Harris made just 4 of 13 shots and only 2 of 9 threes for 13 points. The first time these two teams met, Harris had a game-high 22 points in Virginia's 55-52 win in Charlottesville Jan. 29.

Two dominating games

NC State handed Virginia its worst loss of the season, topping the 15-point margin Clemson had on the Cavaliers in Clemson Jan. 12. In just about every aspect of the game Friday, NC State was a better team.

The Pack shot better (45.8 percent to 38.9 percent) and outrebounded Virginia (39-28 overall and 10-5 on the offensive glass). State also had more points in the paint (34-32), in transition (9-4) and off offensive rebounds (10-5).

In many ways the game was a continuation of the Pack's 80-63 win over Virginia Tech in the first round. In the first two games of the ACC Tournament, NC State has outrebouned the two representatives of the ACC from the commonwealth of Virginia by a combined 79-53 overall and 20-17 on the offensive glass.

The latter is more impressive when you consider that NC State has shot 55 of 112 from the field thus far for 49.1 percent while holding opponents to 46 of 114, or 40.3 percent.

State has also shut down the opposing teams' best player in both games. In addition to the job NCSU did on Harris, Virginia Tech's ACC Player of the Year, senior guard Erick Green, was just 5-of-19 shooting for 15 points Thursday afternoon in one of his worst games of the year.

Rematch with Miami

NC State came very close to making their home game with Miami Feb. 2 one of the feel-good moments of the season. With junior guard Lorenzo Brown sitting out because of an ankle injury, freshman Tyler Lewis came off the bench four minutes into the game and never sat down.

Playing with a heavy heart due to the death of his grandmother the previous day, Lewis had 16 points and five assists, and NC State led much of the game. However, with 0.8 seconds left, fifth-year senior Miami center Reggie Johnson provided a game-winning tap-in to give the Canes a 79-78 win. That would be NCSU's only home loss of the year.

Johnson was one of five Miami players to score in double figures against State. He had 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench. His classmate in the paint, Julian Gamble, had 16 points while another fifth-year senior post player, the versatile Kenny Kadji, scored 13 points. The Miami big men will be a challenge if NCSU senior center Richard Howell is slowed by an apparent thigh injury that he suffered against Virginia.

Miami is one of two teams in the ACC that the Pack has yet to defeat this year. The other is Maryland, who will play in the second ACC Tournament semifinals game Saturday afternoon. Another victory for the Canes over NCSU will put Miami into the ACC Tournament finals for the first time in school history.

What the win means

NC State improved to 24-9 overall while Virginia dropped to 21-11. If you include tournament games into the league record, NCSU is now 13-7 overall in ACC games while Virginia is 12-7. The Cavs suffered a significant, and some would argue fatal, blow in its hopes to earn an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.

Virginia also failed to reach the semifinals of the ACC Tournament for the 18th straight season, the longest drought among league squads.

The Pack is 66-49 all-time in the ACC Tournament and improved to 7-6 as a five seed. NC State is a dominant 14-2 all-time against Virginia in the ACC Tournament.

State is 82-59 overall against the Wahoos, including 18-3 on neutral sites. In recent history Virginia is 5-2 against the Pack, but the two losses have both come in the past two ACC Tournament quarterfinals.

The Pack has 24 wins for the second straight season, meaning that NCSU is guaranteed to have a better record than its 24-13 overall mark last year. The 48 wins the last two seasons are the most since the 1982-83 squads that included a national championship also had 48 triumphs in a two-year span.



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