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Dec 28, 2003

Box Score |? Video Highlights

AP Sports Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina State’s 3-point shooting slump isofficially over.

Julius Hodge scored 21 points, Scooter Sherrill added 19 and the Wolfpackwas key from outside in an 86-69 victory over previously undefeated Virginia onSunday night.

The Wolfpack (6-2, 1-0 ACC) handed the Cavaliers (8-1, 0-1) their ninthstraight loss in Atlantic Coast Conference openers, including six in a rowunder Pete Gillen.

“We didn’t expect to go undefeated, but that doesn’t mean this doesn’thurt,” said Virginia’s Devin Smith. “We expected to win this game.”

N.C. State, shooting 31 percent from long-range this season, matched aseason high with 11 3-pointers from seven different players.

“We’re a good shooting team,” coach Herb Sendek said. “We’ve maintainedthat all along. The guys came out and shot the ball with a lot of confidenceand made shots. That can make a world of difference in this game.”

Virginia came in with an ACC-low 12.5 turnovers a game, but coughed it up 11times in the first half and a season-high 18 overall.

“That’s way too many turnovers for a team that is not pressing you anddenying everything,” Gillen said. “When things got bad we got flustered, wepanicked a little bit and make some mistakes.”

N.C. State led by five at the half and started the second period by going8-for-10 from the field with six 3-pointers from six different players toincrease its lead to nine.

Hodge assisted on five of the 3-pointers and made one himself.

“Coach always tells me every day in practice to work hard and that I makeother guys better,” Hodge said.

“Sometimes I go out there and think to help us win I have to score a lot ofpoints. But tonight I had a lot of faith and trust in my teammates who weremaking shots. I kept feeding them the ball.”

The Cavaliers closed to 70-63 with 5:45 left, but Marcus Melvin hit a15-footer and Hodge’s spinning layup produced a three-point play that gave theWolfpack a double-digit lead.

Virginia never threatened over the final 4? minutes in losing its 13th ACCroad game in 14 tries. The Cavaliers produced just eight points over the final8:56.

“We made the mistake when they penetrated of helping out too much and wedidn’t get back to the shooters,” Gillen said. “We didn’t adjust.

“They hit shots in the zone, they hit shots against man. They were on fire.They were rolling pretty good. They would have been very effective againstanybody the way they shot it in the second half.”

Hodge and Sherrill combined to go 16-for-25 from the field, while Melvinadded 14 points.

“All week we did form shooting (in practice) to try to stay with our3-point shooting mentality,” Melvin said. “As a shooter you can’t worry aboutwhat people are saying. We put the percentages behind us and just went out andshot the basketball.”

Elton Brown led Virginia with 18 points, but had seven costly turnovers.

Four of Virginia’s first eight baskets were dunks as the Cavaliers were ableto exploit N.C. State’s interior and help defense early.

Virginia also displayed its versatility as Gillen used three point guards inthe opening 10 minutes and had four freshmen on the court during one stretch.

But the Wolfpack used a 13-3 run over a three-minute span to take the leadover the final 6:43 of the half. Sherrill had a follow shot and driving layupin the spurt and Levi Watkins hit one of four 3-pointers in the period for theWolfpack.

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