N.C. State 86, Virginia 69
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—North Carolina State’s 3-point shooting slump is officially over.
Julius Hodge scored 21 points, Scooter Sherrill added 19 and the Wolfpack was key from outside in an 86-69 victory over previously undefeated Virginia on Sunday night.
The Wolfpack (6-2, 1-0 ACC) handed the Cavaliers (8-1, 0-1) their ninth straight loss in Atlantic Coast Conference openers, including six in a row under Pete Gillen.
“We didn’t expect to go undefeated, but that doesn’t mean this doesn’t hurt,” said Virginia’s Devin Smith. “We expected to win this game.”
N.C. State, shooting 31 percent from long-range this season, matched a season high with 11 3-pointers from seven different players.
“We’re a good shooting team,” coach Herb Sendek said. “We’ve maintained that all along. The guys came out and shot the ball with a lot of confidence and made shots. That can make a world of difference in this game.”
Virginia came in with an ACC-low 12.5 turnovers a game, but coughed it up 11 times in the first half and a season-high 18 overall.
“That’s way too many turnovers for a team that is not pressing you and denying everything,” Gillen said. “When things got bad we got flustered, we panicked a little bit and make some mistakes.”
N.C. State led by five at the half and started the second period by going 8-for-10 from the field with six 3-pointers from six different players to increase its lead to nine.
Hodge assisted on five of the 3-pointers and made one himself.
“Coach always tells me every day in practice to work hard and that I make other guys better,” Hodge said.
“Sometimes I go out there and think to help us win I have to score a lot of points. But tonight I had a lot of faith and trust in my teammates who were making shots. I kept feeding them the ball.”
The Cavaliers closed to 70-63 with 5:45 left, but Marcus Melvin hit a 15-footer and Hodge’s spinning layup produced a three-point play that gave the Wolfpack a double-digit lead.
Virginia never threatened over the final 4 1/2 minutes in losing its 13th ACC road game in 14 tries. The Cavaliers produced just eight points over the final 8:56.
“We made the mistake when they penetrated of helping out too much and we didn’t get back to the shooters,” Gillen said. “We didn’t adjust.
“They hit shots in the zone, they hit shots against man. They were on fire. They were rolling pretty good. They would have been very effective against anybody the way they shot it in the second half.”
Hodge and Sherrill combined to go 16-for-25 from the field, while Melvin added 14 points.
“All week we did form shooting (in practice) to try to stay with our 3-point shooting mentality,” Melvin said. “As a shooter you can’t worry about what people are saying. We put the percentages behind us and just went out and shot the basketball.”
Elton Brown led Virginia with 18 points, but had seven costly turnovers.
Four of Virginia’s first eight baskets were dunks as the Cavaliers were able to exploit N.C. State’s interior and help defense early.
Virginia also displayed its versatility as Gillen used three point guards in the opening 10 minutes and had four freshmen on the court during one stretch.
But the Wolfpack used a 13-3 run over a three-minute span to take the lead over the final 6:43 of the half. Sherrill had a follow shot and driving layup in the spurt and Levi Watkins hit one of four 3-pointers in the period for the Wolfpack.