No. 18 N.C. State holds off Virginia
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) – Cameron Bennerman snapped a tie game with a
second-chance basket with 1:10 remaining, as 18th-ranked North Carolina State
earned a hard-fought 66-64 victory over Atlantic Coast Conference rival
Virginia at the RBC Center.
Tony Bethel compiled 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Cedric
Simmons added 15 points to help the Wolf Pack (17-4, 6-2 ACC) to their third
win in four games.
J.R. Reynolds posted 16 points for the Cavaliers (10-8, 4-4), who fought back
from an early 12-point deficit before faltering down the stretch.
Sean Singletary finished with 13 points in the loss but missed all six of his
three-point attempts. As a team Virginia went just 2-of-21 from beyond the
N.C. State trailed 62-59 when Ilian Evtimov buried a clutch three-pointer with
2:08 left to tie things. Reynolds then had the ball taken from him on the
ensuing possession by the Wolfpack’s Engin Atsur, who delivered a nice
interior pass to Bennerman following a time out.
Bennerman couldn’t convert his initial layup, but got his own rebound to put
N.C. State up 64-62.
After Reynolds misfired a three-point try on the other end, Atsur scored off
an Evtimov feed to make it a four-point game with 38 seconds to go.
Neither team scored again until UVa’s Adrian Joseph tipped in Reynolds’ miss
with 3.6 seconds on the clock to make the score 66-64. Atsur was immediately
fouled but missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Singletary snared the
rebound and dribbled upcourt before hitting the rim on a potential game-
winning 30-footer as the buzzer sounded.
Down 49-43 with 11 minutes to go, Virginia put together a 12-3 run to forge
ahead. Singletary’s transition layup with 7:44 left gave the Cavs their first
lead of the night before Mamadi Diane capped the burst with a short baseline
jumper for a 55-52 advantage.
An Atsur three-pointer with 5:31 remaining put the Wolfpack up 57-55, but
Virginia reeled off six straight points to move back in front.
N.C. State appeared to be on its way to a blowout win early on, as the
Wolfpack began the game with a 14-2 run as Virginia missed its first nine
field goal attempts. Laurynas Mikalauskas finally ended the Cavaliers’
shooting drought with a putback around 5 1/2 minutes into the contest.
Virginia rallied and drew within 26-20 on Reynolds’ three-point play with
3:58 remaining before intermission. The Cavs’ standout guard buried a triple
seconds later to make it a three-point game.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Bethel seemed to give the Wolfpack the momentum
back, but Virginia scored the final six points of the half and cut its deficit
to 29-26 on a steal and dunk by Diane.
The Cavs drew even at 32-32 when Singletary fed Joseph for an easy dunk less
than two minutes into the second half.
Evtimov and Bennerman each recorded 12 points…N.C. State, which leads the
ACC in field goal percentage, hit at a 50 percent clip for the
night…Virginia’s Jason Cain had a game-high 10 rebounds…The Cavaliers were
coming off an 82-63 loss at Duke on Saturday, in which UVa fell behind 20-2 to
start the game…N.C. State improved to 13-1 at home this year…The Wolfpack
have won nine of the last 11 meetings between the schools.