Scott German: Virginia fights its way to road win at N.C. State
Prior to tonight’s matchup with Virginia, N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts promised his team would keep fighting.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett wanted to see some fight in his team.
Both coaches got what they wanted .
The Wolfpack did fight against No. 14 Virginia on Wednesday, but did not have quite enough fight in them against the Cavaliers, who maintained their composure and displayed some late-game muscle of their own to claim a 64-57 ACC road win in PNC Arena.
Virginia (12-3, 8-1 ACC), coming off a numbing loss to Virginia Tech Saturday, in which Bennett thought his club was a bit soft, took a 28-24 lead at intermission.
The Cavaliers pushed the lead to as many as nine in the second half – sound familiar? – before the Wolfpack gathered themselves to mount a comeback attempt.
Virginia had a 50-48 lead with under five minutes remaining when N.C. State displayed some late-game nerves with a couple costly turnovers and bad shot selection.
A three-point play by the Cavaliers’ Jay Huff, followed by an easy backdoor dunk by Trey Murphy, gave Virginia some cushion.
Another defensive breakdown by State after closing to within four at 60-56 allowed Murphy another easy backdoor dunk.
Sam Hauser and Murphy paced UVA in scoring with 18 points each.
N.C. State rallied from behind at intermission to take a 44-43 lead with about six minutes remaining in the contest. But unlike Saturday against the Hokies, Virginia regrouped .
Sparked by the two Murphy dunks, and scoring 10 of its last 21 points from the foul line, the Cavaliers closed the game on a 21-13 run to claim a tough ACC road win.
Virgina will host Pittsburgh on Saturday at 4 p.m.
The originally scheduled game with Louisville was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.
Story by Scott German