CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The eighth-seeded N.C. State Wolfpack abruptly exited the ACC Tournament following a 76-56 shortfall to No. 1 seed Virginia on Thursday.
Markell Johnson’s13 points and DJ Funderburk’s 12 led the Wolfpack, but the effort was not enough to overpower the defending tournament-champion Cavaliers.
Shooting 39 percent from the field, struggles from the free throw line compounded the Wolfpack’s inability to extend a 29-27 halftime lead.
Kyle Guy led the Cavaliers with 29 points, including dropping seven 3-pointers, while Jack Salt provided a career-high 18 points from the post to reinforce a 49-27 second half scoring output.
Virginia shot 63 percent after the break and doubled-down on its interior man defense that made it difficult for N.C. State to penetrate.
The Wolfpack shot 8 of 21 after the break and converted on only 8 of 16 from the free throw line, leaving many points unclaimed.
While the Cavaliers advanced to Friday’s semifinal against No. 4 seed Florida State, the Wolfpack awaits its postseason fate on NCAA Selection Sunday.
What they said
NC State coach Kevin Keatts
“Obviously I think it’s no secret that Virginia does a tremendous job of controlling tempo. You know, probably the best in the country. Any time we had a chance to be able to get into some pressure we wanted to, we wanted to get those guys to play a little faster.
“At our place in the second half, we were able to speed them up. They took some shots that were a little questionable for Tony’s system. Tonight, they didn’t. They stayed the course. They ran their stuff, and obviously they came away with a good win.”
“We talked about mentality. You know, what’s your mentality.”
“I thought in the two games that we played, we played two good halves. When you look at Clemson game, I didn’t think we played well in the first half, and then you take this game, we didn’t play well in the second half, and so what I’m asking these guys is our mentality has to be to put back to back halves. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be 40 minutes, but we’ve got to be able to play 30 to 35 minutes of good basketball. Yesterday we didn’t play great in the first half, but Markell Johnson, he put us on his back, and we won the game. Today we had a great first half and then we didn’t have a good second.”
- Virginia is 9-2 all-time as the ACC Tournament’s No. 1 seed and is advancing to the semifinal round for the fifth time in the last six years.
- The Cavaliers improved to 42-62 all time in the ACC Tournament and to 25-36 in the quarterfinal round.
- NC State (22-11) slipped to 72-56 all-time in the ACC Tournament and to 33-23 in the quarterfinal round. The Wolfpack is 5-6 as a No. 8 seed.
- Virginia is 3-14 all-time versus NC State in the ACC Tournament, but currently owns an eight-game winning streak in the overall series and is 13-2 versus the Wolfpack under current head coach Tony Bennett.
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport