Earlier in the season NC State head coach Mark Gottfried mentioned that his team’s struggles was like trying to fix a dike with several leaks. When you plug one hole, another one emerges. In the second half in Charlottesville, the wall came crumbling down.
Virginia showed why it is ranked seventh in the nation with a scintillating performance after intermission and the Cavaliers routed NC State, 73-53, Monday at John Paul Jones Arena.
The loss dropped the Wolfpack to 13-13 overall and 3-10 in ACC play.
"They were the story, not us,” Gottfried said. “They were the story. They played terrific."
The Cavaliers shot 63 percent from the floor in the second half, including 6-of-9 from three-point range. NC State, which led for over 13 minutes of the first half, could not stop the flood.
On Monday, there was more than one gaping hole for Gottfried and the Wolfpack to fill.
Abdul-Malik Abu, Lennard Freeman and BeeJay Anya collectively had only seven rebounds. Abu, who averages over 12 points per contest, did not take a single shot.
“We had a bad start to the second half,” Gottfried said. “We missed some open shots, and they made some. We fought back for a while and the bottom kind of fell out for a little bit on us.”
On the wings it was just as bad. Maverick Rowan and Cody Martin combined to shoot 2-for-17 from the floor. NC State finished the game with five assists.
"They executed a lot better than us in the second half,” Caleb Martin said. “Sometimes you have one day, sometimes you have four or five days. You have to come back and regroup."
Clemson visits Raleigh on Saturday. While the Tigers have seldom fared well in the Triangle, the Wolfpack lost to teams with similar type of seasons (Florida State and Georgia Tech) at home earlier in the season. NC State has the rest of the week to regroup and prepare.
As Miami can attest to, the Pack can be a dangerous team when things are clicking. There often seems to be a hole or two however. Against a team like Virginia, any deficiency is certain to be lethal. There is a level of play required to compete for championships. The Cavaliers gave the Wolfpack a glimpse of it in the second half.