No. 2 Virginia knocks down NC State in quarterfinal round of ACC Championship, 76-56

Cavaliers move to semis of conference tourney with 20-point win over Wolfpack

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Senior center Jack Salt scored a career-high 18 points for Virginia. Courtesy Virginia Athletics

In the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament, top-seeded Virginia picked up a 76-56 win over N.C. State to advance to the semifinals. Already claiming the regular season title, the Cavaliers (29-2, 16-2 ACC) are now a round closer to repeating as champions of the conference tournament after beating the Wolfpack (22-11, 9-9 ACC).

When the two teams played earlier in the season, Virginia escaped with a one-point win in overtime over the Wolfpack. While sophomore guard De’Andre Hunter, junior guard Ty Jerome and junior guard Kyle Guy all scored in double figures, 16 turnovers from the Cavaliers kept the game close.

In the quarterfinal matchup, Virginia didn’t need the extra five minutes to get a win over N.C. State. Despite trailing for 15:41 of the game, the Cavaliers managed to get a 20-point win in their first game of postseason play.  

The Cavaliers jumped to the early lead, going up 16-6 over six minutes into the half. However, the Wolfpack chipped away at the lead until they were able to surpass the Cavaliers and go up 24-18. In the 18-2 run that N.C. State went on, Virginia committed four turnovers. With both teams struggling on offense and going on scoring droughts, the game stayed tied at 24-22 for 3 minutes and 40 seconds. The first half ended up finishing out with N.C. State holding on to a slight lead of 29-27.

For the half, Virginia shot 42 percent on field goals, 36 percent from three and committed six turnovers. Guy led the Cavaliers in scoring in the first 20 minutes of play, dropping 14 points. No other player on the team had more than three points in the first half.

Meanwhile, N.C. State shot zero percent from three, going 0-8 from beyond the arc. The team was 39 percent on field goals and turned it over just three times. Sophomore forward DJ Funderburk led the Wolfpack in scoring with 10 points. Senior guard Torin Dorn added six points, while junior guard Markell Johnson had five. 

In the second half, Virginia reclaimed the lead with 15:39 to go when senior center Jack Salt converted a field goal and made the free throw for the three-point play. The Cavaliers expanded on their lead, going ahead 49-37, and held onto it for the rest of the game to finish with a 76-56 win.

Committing just three turnovers in the second half, Virginia redeemed its sloppy first half to finish with nine turnovers in the game. The Cavaliers shot 52 percent on field goals and 48 percent from beyond the arc overall in the game.

Guy finished as Virginia’s leading scorer with 29 points. He shot 10-for-13 overall and seven-for-nine from three. Salt was the next leading scorer for the team, coming up big for the team when the guards were struggling to score. He added 18 points to the scoreboard — a career-high for the center. Hunter also reached double figures, as he dropped 16 points with half of those points coming from the free-throw line.

N.C. State never got things to fall from three, shooting 15 percent from three on the game. Overall, the Wolfpack shot 39 percent and committed nine turnovers. Johnson finished as the leading scorer for N.C. State with 13 points, while Funderburk was just behind him with 12. 

The Cavaliers will now move on to the semi-final round of the tournament, playing either Virginia Tech or Florida State Friday at 7 p.m. 

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