CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s lead was still 11, but North Carolina State was trying to rally and a sense of unease was growing at John Paul Jones Arena. There were eight minutes to play, and the Wolfpack were on an 11-2 run. For Devon Hall, that meant time to do something.
He got the ball on the right baseline, drove hard and laid it in. Thirty seconds later, after a turnover, he scored on another drive, was fouled and converted the three-point play, allowing the third-ranked Cavaliers to feel a little better, up 52-36, in a 68-51 victory Sunday night. “I thought he righted the ship,” coach Tony Bennett said. A fifth-year senior and one of three captains. Hall saw it more as doing his job. “I’ve been here for five years and so that’s the time where a leader steps up,” he said after scoring a career-best 25 points.
Kyle Guy added 17 points and Isaiah Wilkins had 10 for the Cavaliers (16-1, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who were unranked to start the season. Virginia also has won 11 straight regular-season meetings against the Wolfpack.
Hall finished 7 for 9 from the field, including 4 of 5 on three-pointers, in topping his previous high of 20 points. “Devon, he certainly answered when it got to those points,” Bennett said. “He played a heck of a game.”
Torin Dorn scored 16 points to lead N.C. State (12-6, 2-3), which arrived with a 3-0 record against ranked teams. The Wolfpack has beaten the AP No. 2 team twice — Arizona on Nov. 22 and Duke on Jan. 6 — and was coming off a 78-77 victory against No. 17 Clemson, but they had a difficult time getting much going against the nation’s top defense.
N.C. State scoring leader Allerik Freeman (15.2 points per game) did not score in 29 minutes, missing all five of his shots from the field. The Wolfpack allowed Virginia to convert 8 of 14 three-point shots, including 5 of 9 in the second half.
“I thought we did a tremendous job early in the game of running them off the line. Not so much in the second half,” first-year Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said. The Cavaliers, who attempted 27 3s in their last game against Syracuse, were 3 for 5 in the first 20 minutes. Virginia led 30-20 at the break and quickly built its margin to 37-20 in the opening minutes after halftime. The lead grew as high as 21.