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As the shot clock ran down and a 7-footer running his way, Cam Hayes banked in a long 3-pointer.
It was desperation shots like that, shots that fell, a sure sign that little could go wrong for N.C. State. The Wolfpack may have a chance to salvage its season and next month it might look back at its 68-61 win over No. 15 Virginia as the turning point.
N.C. State won its third game in a row. It also won its fourth consecutive ACC game on the road, something it hasn’t done since the 1973-74 season, and is trending in the right direction at the right time. It was the Wolfpack’s second straight win at UVA (15-6, 11-4) and just its second win in John Paul Jones Arena in 10 attempts.
N.C. State has now gone on the road and came away with wins at Boston College, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and UVA.
The Wolfpack only trailed for 88 seconds, basically controlling the game from the start. N.C. State led by as many as 14 in the first half and was up by double digits midway through the second half after a dunk by D.J. Funderburk.
Funderburk led the team in scoring with 14 points, one of three players in double figures for the Pack (11-9, 7-8). Kevin Keatts has led the Wolfpack to 16 ACC road wins during his tenure in Raleigh. UVA was the fourth ranked team N.C. State faced this season and its second win.
Each player who saw action for the Pack scored and the Pack’s defense bottled up the UVA duo of Jay Huff and Sam Hauser in the first half. They got it going in the second half, but N.C. State did just enough to shut down the rest of Virginia’s roster to secure the win. Huff and Hauser combined for 37 UVA points, but two players weren’t going to be enough to beat the Pack, which made its last 13 straight from the foul line.
N.C. State dodged a bullet late, turning the ball over to UVA with 15.4 left and a four-point lead. But Hauser missed a 3 from the top of the key with 8.6 remaining. Dereon Seabron hit one from the stripe to make it a five-point advantage. Kihei Clark turned the ball over back to State with 1.6 left, securing the Wolfpack win.
Here are updates from earlier in the game
Moore paces Pack early in second half
N.C. State got a strong second half from freshman guard Shakeel Moore, who scored six points in the first 12 minutes to give him 10 for the game. It took the Wolfpack a while to find its first field goal of the second half. Braxton Beverly knocked down an open 3 at the 13:43 mark, putting State back in front, 37-35.
That shot came after UVA center Jay Huff hit two free throws, giving the Cavaliers the lead for the first time. But Beverly’s shot was part of a 6-0 run from N.C. State. After Sam Hauser scored a layup on the other end for UVA, Moore scored four straight — all at the rim — to put the Pack up 43-37, part of a 12-2 run for N.C. State.
Virginia went on a 2:38 scoring drought before a reverse dunk from Huff.
Halftime: N.C. State 29, UVA 21
UVA closed out the first half knocking down 5-of-7 shots from the floor, cutting into the N.C. State lead. The Wolfpack led by as many as 14 (24-10), but the Cavaliers outscored N.C. State 13-5. Manny Bates scored under the basket right before the half to end the Wolfpack scoring drought. Before the basket from Bates, N.C. State missed its previous six shots from the floor. That left the door open for UVA, which got six in a row from Jay Huff, who finished with eight points in the first half.
N.C. State hit its first three triples, but missed its next four. UVA remained patient, making things interesting after the under-8 timeout.
Jericole Hellems started the game hot for N.C. State, but didn’t score in the final eight minutes of the first half. Cam Hayes led the Wolfpack with seven points in the first half.
Pack hot from the start
N.C. State couldn’t have asked for a better start. The Pack raced out to a 21-10 lead, thanks to some hot shooting and stellar defense.
N.C. State hit its first three 3-point attempts and UVA started 2-7 from the floor. The Pack went on a 7-0 run and kept the Cavaliers scoreless for nearly four minutes. State led by as many as 13 points as six of the seven players to see action scored at least one bucket. Jericole Hellems scored five points in the opening minutes for the Wolfpack.
N.C. State is seeking its fourth straight ACC road win. The Wolfpack is expected to start freshman Cam Hayes and Dereon Seabron in the back court, with junior Jericole Hellems on the wing. Senior D.J. Funderburk and sophomore Manny Bates will start in the front court. Junior guard Thomas Allen will miss his third straight game.