Quick hits and notes from Virginia's come-from-behind 70-62 win over NC State in front of 16,289 fans at the RBC Center Saturday afternoon.
Play of the game
For the first time in quick hits history, it is not an actual play on the court but a coaching move. Virginia first-year coach Tony Bennett made a strategic decision during the official timeout with 11:20 left in the game to go with a four-guard lineup and junior power forward Mike Scott playing the post. The move paid off big-time. At the timeout, NC State led 45-36 and seemingly had complete control of the game. Virginia played with the small lineup for the rest of the game though and outscored the Pack 34-17 en route to their eight-point win.
NC State maintained their normal lineup, but they were unable to effective defend the Cavalier guards or take advantage of the small lineup on the other end.
Player of the game
Virginia sophomore guard Sylven Landesberg is one of the top players in the league, so it's no surprise that he had a good game Saturday. Landesberg was the best player on the court, scoring a game-high 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting and making all eight of his free throw attempts. He also added five rebounds, a steal and a crucial block shot when NC State senior forward Dennis Horner tried to post Landesberg only to have Landesberg reject him.
Turning point of the game
Bennett made the move of the game with his subtle lineup adjustment, but that came at exactly the turning point of the contest. Horner drove baseline and appeared to have a three-point play opportunity coming, but official Mike Wood called a charge on Horner much to NC State's surprise.
Wolfpack head coach Sidney Lowe argued before and after the official timeout that the defender was under the basket and therefore it should have been an automatic blocking call. After the game Lowe complained to the media about the lack of a line on the court to help officials determine when a player is under the basket. On UVA's next possession junior guard Jeff Jones drained a three-pointer to cut State's lead to 45-39 with 11:12 left in the game.
Free throw shooting
NC State entered the game ranked eighth in the ACC shooting 65.1 percent from the line, while UVA was second in the league at 72.7 percent. The difference in free throw shooting was striking Saturday afternoon, and for the second straight loss the Pack can point to their effort at the line as a major reason why they lost.
UVA made 19 of 20 free throws, including their last 17. NC State was just 16 of 26 for 61.5 percent. Not a single Wolfpack player made all their free throws, and six NC State players attempted at least two. Fifth-year senior guard Farnold Degand was just 2 of 4 two games after going a costly 1 of 5 against Florida. Junior Tracy Smith went 6 of 10.
NC State was just 9 of 16 at the line in the second half, and they missed four times at the line, including a stretch of going just 2 of 6 after taking a 42-33 lead with 12:57 to go in the game. UVA went on a 15-6 run during that span of almost seven minutes to tie the game at 48.
Virginia's 95.0 percent free throw shooting was the second best effort ever in the RBC Center with a minimum of 12 attempts. Ironically the Cavs hold the record when they went 12 of 12 at the line in 2003. NC State won that game 86-69 though.
Thurl Bailey day
As part of celebrating the 100th anniversary of NC State basketball, the Pack honored Thurl Bailey, a star forward on the 1983 national title team.
Also spotted at the game was junior forward Jacob Lawson from Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy.
What the loss means
NC State is now 11-5 on the year but also fell to 0-2 in the ACC. Virginia is 9-4 and 1-0 in the conference. The Cavs have won five straight games, including an upset over then-No. 24 UAB Dec. 30 in Charlottesville.
NC State now holds an 80-55 lead in the all-time series against the Wahoos. Virginia is just 18-38 in Raleigh and 3-7 at the RBC Center. This was just the third time in the last 12 tries that Virginia has beaten NC State on the Pack's home court. The two teams will meet again Feb. 3 in Charlottesville, where NC State is 23-35.
Virginia has now won three of its last four ACC openers after enduring an 11-year losing streak on conference openers. Ironically that streak ended when the Cavaliers knocked off NC State four years ago. For State, the Pack has started 0-2 in conference action every year under Lowe.
Other stats of note
• Virginia had a 36-30 edge on the glass, 9-8 on the offensive board and 7-6 in second change points. The Pack has been outrebounded in three of its last four games.
• NC State won the turnover margin 10-9, but Virginia had a 13-10 advantage in points off turnovers. Virginia had six steals and four blocks compared to just two a piece for State.
• The Cavs were more effective in transition and in the paint. Virginia had an 8-2 lead in fast break points and 28-22 advantage in interior scoring.
• There were nine ties and 11 lead changes in the back-and-forth affair.
• Horner and Degand both fouled out of the game, the first time this year NC State had two players fouled out. Smith had actually been the only Wolfpack player to been disqualified with five fouls in a contest this year.