No. 4 Cavaliers Drop ACC Contest To N.C. State, 81-74
Jan 5, 2002
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Julius Hodge was 5 years old the last time North Carolina State won a game at University Hall. Since then the Wolfpack had made 13 trips here, and each time went home losers.
On Saturday, the freshman scored 21 points on near-perfect shooting and Anthony Grundy added 19 and two big defensive plays as the Wolfpack ended the streak with an 81-74 victory against No. 4 Virginia.
“We’re underrated, and if we play together at the end of the game, guys are going to make big plays and we’re going to win,” Hodge said.
Hodge’s attitude is part of a new atmosphere in State’s program, Grundy said, and one coach Herb Sendek might have been playing off this week when he reminded the team of the record at Virginia.
“I think it really got to the older guys because we’ve had to deal with it the most,” Grundy said. “But the younger guys, they bring a different energy and haven’t really been under the fire like that. They haven’t had the losses, so it was a different attitude.”
The Wolfpack (11-3, 1-1 ACC) led almost throughout, and responded both times Virginia threatened to take over. In the first half, a 12-3 run gave the Cavaliers (9-1, 0-1) a 31-27 lead, and North Carolina State went on a 21-6 burst, getting 10 points from freshman Illian Evtimov.
Then, when Chris Williams’ baseline turnaround pulled the Cavaliers to 65-64 with 9:57 left, the Wolfpack got a steal and layup from Grundy, another steal and a short basket by Clifford Crawford and a putpack by Grundy to open a 71-64 lead with 7:20 to play. The Cavaliers, meantime, went without a basket for 7:42 and never got closer than four points again.
The loss also ended Virginia’s 13-game home winning streak, and left coach Pete Gillen with an I-told-you-so tone for his cocky team.
“We were able to escape some nonconference games where we had a big deficit, and you just can’t keep doing that,” he said. “I don’t know if our guys just think that they can turn it on and off.”
This time, they never really turned it on and the youthful Wolfpack never slowed down, turning 16 turnovers into 24 points, playing rugged defense in close and hitting 11 3-pointers, all in the first 32 minutes.
“It’s definitely a different N.C. State team from last year,” said Virginia point guard Roger Mason Jr., who scored 18 points but connected on only 5-of-18 shots. “They have a lot of great shooters and they spread you out and try to expose you defensively by getting open threes.”
Hodge hit his first seven shots, including three 3-pointers, and Evtimov, another freshman, was 3-for-3 from behind the line. He also had a four-point play to tie it at 31 after the Cavaliers’ 12-3 first-half run.
It was the Wolfpack’s third victory here in the last 25 games.
Travis Watson led Virginia with 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Williams added 18 points, hitting two 3-pointers in the closing minute.
The Cavaliers didn’t get a point from their reserves until Elton Brown’s jumper with 12:09 left and were outscored off the bench 23-5.