Dynamic Duo Leads Cavs Past Pack, 71-58

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Despite the return of senior point guard Engin Atsur, NC State couldn't get anything going offensively and Virginia guards Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds dominated as the Cavs defeated the Wolfpack 71-58.

  • Recap: Dynamic Duo Leads Cavs Past Pack, 71-58
  • Locker Room Report: Wolfpack Players
  • Locker Room Report: Sidney Lowe
  • Box Score

    NC State rolled off 11 straight points to pull the Wolfpack within a point of visiting Virginia as the crowd roared. Then J.R. Reynolds silenced the entire RBC Center.

    From that point, with the Pack down 41-42 and nearly 12 minutes left in the game, Reynolds scored 20 of Virginia's next 22 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 71-58 win on Wednesday night.

    "That was just an unbelievable performance," coach Sidney Lowe said. "You've heard me say it over and over again – good guards win games."

    Reynolds finished the night with 29 points, just ahead of his sharp-shooting teammate Sean Singletary who had 27. The duo combined for all but 15 of Virginia's 71 points.

    "I was just like 'wow'," Gavin Grant said. "They made big shots when they needed to."

    The Pack lost despite the return of senior Engin Atsur to the lineup. Atsur missed 12 out of 13 games before returning to the starting lineup on Wednesday night, but he was clearly still slowed by his nagging hamstring injury. The point guard finished the game with nine points on 3-of-7 shooting. "The hamstring is a funny thing and Engin is inching back day-by-day," Ben McCauley said. "He's working hard to get back to 100 percent."

    Gavin Grant wasn't in the starting lineup for the first time all season. Lowe cited a missed a tutoring session on Wednesday morning as well as not 'playing the defense I think he's capable of playing' as the reasons behind not starting Grant. The junior finished with eight points and five turnovers before fouling out in the closing minutes. Brandon Costner led the Wolfpack with 14 points and Courtney Fells recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds while having the dubious assignment of guarding Reynolds down the stretch..

    "He's a great player – he's very quick," Fells said. "I learned a lot from tonight, and I'm just going to try to build on it."

    Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, trading bricks and sloppy plays on their way to a 26-19 halftime score. The teams combined for a total of five points in the final seven minutes. The Cavaliers shot just 29 percent from the floor in the half, but State did them one better by shooting only 26 percent. Sean Singletary was the lone bright spot for either team, with 15 points and nine rebounds.

    "One thing coach Lowe said at halftime 'We're getting shots but they just aren't falling right now,'" McCauley said. "We had to keep running our offense, when we do that we'll get open shots."

    The second half saw a relative offensive explosion, as Singletary continued to be the hot hand until handing off to Reynolds for the final 12 minutes. The Cavaliers shot a blistering 64 percent from the field in the second half, while State improved but still only managed to shoot 37 percent. The Pack didn't help itself from the line either, going just 11-of-20.

    McCauley struggled offensively for the second game in a row, scoring 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Defenses have begun to key in on the Pack's versatile big man and McCauley admits he's still learning to adjust to the new-found attention.

    "I'm still trying to get used to that," McCauley said. "At the college ranks I'm not used to having that much attention on me. It's kind of frustrating at times."

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