Defense limits ACC scoring leader to 14 points, two assists

Virginia picks up home win after Duke loss

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Junior guard London Perrantes didn't even attempt a three pointer in the 62-63 loss at Duke. Monday night against NC State, Perrantes drained five of eight shots from beyond the arc, including trifectas on three straight Cavalier possessions in the second half.  

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

With only a little more than 48 hours between the final buzzer and Monday’s opening tip, No. 7 Virginia did not have long to process the controversial ending to Saturday’s loss to Duke.

The Cavaliers (21-5, 10-4 ACC) took an early body blow from North Carolina State University, but regrouped and suffocated the life out of the Wolfpack (13-13, 3-10 ACC) in the second half en route to a 73-53 victory inside John Paul Jones Arena.

Early on, Virginia’s collective mind appeared to still be on Saturday’s outcome and not the matchup in front of them. NC State blitzed the Cavaliers’ defense, and went nearly seven minutes without missing a shot attempt. In that span, the Wolfpack scored 15 points and had Virginia on its heels, and the offense that scored 99 points against Wake Forest Saturday appeared to be rolling towards another prolific output.

“The first six possessions we were slow to positions, weren’t fighting,” Coach Tony Bennett said. “They have some talent, offensively.”

But soon thereafter, the wheels began to wobble on NC State’s offense, before eventually falling off completely. After their six-for-six opening barrage, the Wolfpack went 13-41 and finished the night shooting 40 percent.

Silent throughout the game was sophomore guard Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber. The ACC’s leading scorer at 24.1 points per game, Barber scored only seven points on two-of-six shooting in the first half.

Checking the Newport News, Va. native was senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who put together another defensive gem two nights after he shut down Duke freshman forward Brandon Ingram during the closing minutes.

Despite exerting a tremendous amount of effort running through screens and keeping Barber in front of him, Brogdon still found the energy to carry his team on offense as well. The Greater Atlanta Christian alum had 12 first-half points to go along with three assists. Brogdon also rediscovered the lift in his jump shot, canning a pair of threes in the first 20 minutes of action.

The Wolfpack supporting cast picked up their struggling team leader and kept the game tied at 31-31 going into halftime. Junior forward Lennard Freeman had eight first-half points on a perfect four-of-four shooting. Sophomore swingman Cody Martin scored six points and shot 75 percent as well.

But the Cavaliers emerged a new team after the break, and immediately went on a 13-2 run over the first five minutes of the half.

“[Virginia] played fantastic in the second half,” NC State Coach Mark Gottfried said. “It was a tale of two halves for us. I thought we had a great first half, and I thought in the second half Virginia was just terrific.”

The Wolfpack fought hard to keep the game within striking distance, and cut into Virginia’s deficit near the midway point of the period. A Freeman free throw at the 9:35 mark made it a 49-41 Cavalier advantage.

Going forward the contest would never be that close again, and Virginia closed out the game on a 24-12 run, capped by three-straight made threes by junior guard London Perrantes. In total, Virginia outscored the Wolfpack 42-22 in the second half.

Perrantes — who did not attempt a three pointer against Duke — exploded from deep and hit four of his five threes in the second half. The Los Angeles, Calif. native ended the game with 19 points and five assists.

“I was just taking what the defense gave me tonight,” Perrantes said. “I had some open threes. I was playing more aggressive.”

A prolific second-half offensive performance in which the Cavaliers shot 63 percent did not take away from their defensive focus. Virginia stifled NC State in the second half, limiting them to 22 points on 7-24 shooting. The Wolfpack were defanged from long range — missing all nine of their three-point attempts.

Barber found no relief from the overwhelming defense of Brogdon in the second half. The former Hampton Crabber scored seven points after intermission on two-of-five shooting. Barber — who averages almost nine trips to the line per game — could not draw the contact he is accustomed to and shot only six foul shots against Virginia.

“I love playing against great players,” Brogdon said. “I don’t know if I was extra juiced up. I’m juiced up every night.”

Meanwhile, Brogdon continued to roll. In the second half, Brogdon scored 10 points with two made threes and two assists. When it was all said and done, the ACC Player of the Year contender was the high man with 22 points and five assists.

“[Brogdon] was complete,” Bennett said. “Offensively, he was complete. Then he really spread out… I was really pleased. He was locked in.”

Brogdon’s contributions came during another quiet game from senior forward Anthony Gill. The High Point, N.C. native scored six points and gathered five rebounds.

Picking up the slack in the front court was sophomore forward Isaiah Wilkins, who scored six points and set a career high with 13 rebounds. A polished passer, the Lilburn, Ga. native also had three assists.

“I’m just trying to be all over the place,” Wilkins said.

The Cavaliers take the weekend off before traveling to Coral Gables, Fla. for a Big Monday showdown with No. 11 Miami.

Matt Wurzburger is a Sports editor for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at m.wurzburger@cavalierdaily.com or on Twitter at @wurzburgerm.

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