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January 28, 2012
With starting center Assane Sene injured, Virginia needs Sammy Zeglinski to consistently hit outside shots to keep defenses from placing so much focus on Mike Scott in the post.
Zeglinski seemed to regain his shooting touch in the team's last game, but building on that performance could be tough Saturday night when the 19th-ranked Cavaliers visit a North Carolina State team that is defending the perimeter well.
Zeglinski leads Virginia with 35 3-pointers and connected on 43.3 percent of his attempts in non-conference play, but he hasn't been as steady from long range since the ACC slate began. The senior hit two big 3-pointers during the decisive run in Thursday's 66-49 win over Boston College, and Scott had a game-high 18 points.
It was the Cavaliers' second game since Sene underwent ankle surgery that is expected to keep him sidelined for six weeks. They lost the first one Sunday, 47-45 at home to a Virginia Tech team which had lost four straight.
Akil Mitchell had only two points and one rebound in that game, his first replacing Sene in the lineup, but responded Thursday with a career-best 10 points and five boards as Virginia (16-3, 3-2) matched its victory total from all of last season. The Cavaliers haven't reached 17 wins since going 17-16 in 2007-08.
Before Thursday's victory, the Cavaliers had lost two of three games with Zeglinski missing all 11 of his 3-point attempts in the defeats. His inaccuracy hurt Virginia immensely, as the team lost the two contests by a combined five points. In Sunday's defeat, Zeglinski's struggles made things tougher for Scott, who finished with 10 points - 6.6 below his team-leading average.
Against Boston College, Zeglinski finished with eight points and was 2 of 4 from beyond the arc.
"It felt good," Zeglinski said. "It felt good to have that one go down and hopefully I can just get some momentum from that going forward and just keep my confidence up."
It could be tricky to accomplish that, however, as North Carolina State is limiting opponents to 21.7 percent (18 of 83) from 3-point range in its last four games.
The Wolfpack (15-6, 4-2) won the first three but lost at No. 7 North Carolina on Thursday, falling 74-55 despite holding the Tar Heels to 31.3 percent from 3-point range.
NC State came into the game averaging 77.0 points and 47.7 percent from the field, but finished with season lows in scoring and shooting percentage (36.8). Scott Wood, who averages a team-best 13.2 points, was the only NC State player in double figures with 11. C.J. Leslie, averaging 12.6 points, scored eight on 3-for-12 shooting.
"We were not very sharp offensively," coach Mark Gottfried said. "We've played against good defensive teams this year. So yes, they were very good and at the same time we were not very good. The combination of the two, here we are."
The Wolfpack will likely be in for another tough game offensively.
Virginia is second in the nation in scoring defense (50.1 points per game) while holding opponents to 38.7 percent from the field. In winning the last three in this series, the Cavaliers have held the Wolfpack to averages of 55.7 points and 39.6 percent shooting.
In the lone meeting last season, Joe Harris had a game-high 19 points and Zeglinski added 10 in Virginia's 69-58 home victory.
Harris is averaging 14.6 points in true road games this season while Scott has averaged 20.6.
NC State 2011-12 roster
NC State schedule/results
NC State season stats
Virginia season stats
No. 19 Virginia (16-3, 3-2 ACC) at NC State Wolfpack (15-6, 4-2 ACC)
Game time: Saturday, Jan. 28, 8 p.m. — RBC Center, Raleigh, N.C.
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 189, Soph., 12.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 6.9 apg)
SG — 21 C.J. Williams (6-5, 224, Sr., 11.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.2 spg)
SF — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 175, Jr., 13.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.6 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-8, 209, Soph., 12.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.3 spg, 1.8 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 250, Jr., 11.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.0 spg)
PG — 1 Jontel Evans (5-11, 188, Jr., 6.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.8 spg)
SG — 13 Sammy Zeglinski (6-1, 184, Sr., 8.9 ppg ,2.9 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.6 spg)
SF — 12 Joe Harris (6-6, 211, Soph., 12.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.6 apg)
PF — 25 Akil Mitchell (6-8, 234, Soph., 3.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.8 apg)
C — 23 Mike Scott (6-8, 237, Sr., 16.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.6 apg)
Location: Charlottesville, Va.
2010-11 record: 16-15 overall, 7-9 ACC
2011 postseason: None
Coach: Tony Bennett 116-67 overall (sixth year) and 47-34 at UVa (3rd year)
Series: NC State leads 80-57
Last meeting: Virginia won 69-58 on March 1, 2011
Virginia: This is the first season Virginia had been ranked in consecutive polls since 2004-05 Virginia had a 12 game winning streak, including five away from home, snapped by a three-point loss at No. 8 Duke on Jan. 12. That had been the Cavaliers' longest winning streak since they won 15 in a row in 1981-82 UVa completed its non-conference slate with a 13-1 record, the most wins against out-of-conference foes since it won 14 in 1990-91 The Wahoos are noted for their stingy defense, giving up just 50.1 points per game, 9.8 points fewer than Clemson, for the lowest tally in the ACC. Virginia also has the best turnover margin compared to their opponents in the ACC at +2.26 Scott is the lone non-UNC player from the ACC to make the midseason top-25 list for the prestigious Wooden Award. Scott ranked first in the ACC in field goal shooting (58.1 percent), third in scoring (16.6 points per game), sixth in rebounding (8.4 boards a contest) and seventh in free throw shooting (81.2 percent).
NC State: The Wolfpack returning players struggled against Virginia in the last meeting in Charlottesville. NC State trailed 16-0 to open the game and never looked back in the 69-58 victory. NCSU shot 20 of 49 from the field for 40.8 percent against the Cavaliers defense NC State has 363 assists on 579 field goals made gives the Pack 62.6 percent of assists on baskets made to rank first in the ACC. UVa is third in the league at 56.4 percent Opposing teams have gone 18 of 83 from three-point land over the last four games for 21.6 percent Wood is third among active three-point field goals made (191) among ACC players, trailing Malcolm Grant of Miami by three, and Clemson's Andre Young, who has 212 Howell has fouled out the last two games, and he's had four or more fouls in nine games this season.
N.C. State NEWS