ACC MBB: Pack drops senior day contest to Virginia 70-55

David Kehrli, Triangle Sports Network
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David Kehrli

RALEIGH, N.C. — On Senior Day at PNC Arena, the N.C. State Wolfpack fell 70-55 to No. 18 Virginia, in a contest reminiscent of the Pack’s season.

As it has the entire year, the Wolfpack (15-15, 4-13) had its opportunities — against the Cavaliers (19-9, 9-7) it was open shots on the offensive end — but was unable to take advantage, costing it a win over a quality team.

“Virginia is a pretty good basketball team, and they shot the ball really well today,” N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried said.

“Two or three things were the difference — our inability to make an open shot. Obviously, they’re a really good defensive team, but I also thought we had a ton of wide-open shots we couldn’t make.”

The Cavaliers shot 69 percent (11 of 16) from 3-point distance, compared to the Wolfpack’s lackluster 26 percent (7 of 27), proving to be the biggest difference in the game.

Both teams got off to a blistering cold start offensively, combining to shoot just 5-for-25 from the field at the under-12 media timeout.

State held a 16-14 lead with 9:08 on the clock in the first before Virginia went on a 15-0 run to give the Cavaliers a 29-16 lead with 5:24 remaining.

During the run, Virginia hit four threes — two of which came from freshman Kyle Guy, who tormented the Pack from behind the arc all day, going 5-for-7 en route to an ACC career-high of 19 points.

“[Guy] is a good player,” Wolfpack senior Terry Henderson said.

“They know how to utilize him, and he does all the right things for them. He’s always ready to shoot, but you just got to keep playing, have pressure and active hands with him, and try to make him uncomfortable.”

Senior leader London Perrantes (16 points and 10 assists) jumped in on the long-ball fun, going 3-for-5 from deep, while junior Devon Hall (career-high 18 points) was 2-for-2 from distance.

“I thought Perrantes made one or two timely ones — Kyle Guy did, as well,” Gottfried said.

“They made threes; we didn’t. I don’t want to take anything away from their defense — they’re good — but we had a ton of wide, wide-open shots.”

Two of the Wolfpack’s top shooters, Henderson and sophomore Maverick Rowan, struggled mightily from the field.

Henderson, who said after the game he would apply for a sixth year of eligibility, scored 10 points on his Senior Day, but was just 2-for-11 from the field (2 of 10 from 3-point range).

“They do a good job of helping each other out on defense,” Henderson said.

“They do a good job of making sure everybody is in their gaps and where they need be on defense. They’re well coached.”

Rowan notched just 2 points on 0-for-5 shooting, and was held scoreless until he hit two free throws late in the second half.

UVA extended its lead to a much as 19 early in the second half, before State fought back to bring the game within eight with 5:29 remaining.

The Cavaliers responded with five quick points, and the Wolfpack never cut the deficit to single digits again.

“That was a big turnaround, right there,” Gottfried said

“It went from eight back up to 13. But our guys played really hard. You just got to make some shots throughout the game at critical times — we weren’t able to do that today.”

Dennis Smith Jr. led State with 13 points and five rebounds, in what is likely his last game at PNC as he is a projected top-5 2017 NBA Draft pick.

Abdul-Malik Abu scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards, and freshman Markell Johnson scored 11 points.

Senior BeeJay Anya, N.C. State’s career-leader in blocked shots, was held scoreless and had one block in nine minutes of action.