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March 2, 2005

AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Jordan Collins scored 16 points and Julius Hodgehad 17 points and eight assists Wednesday night as North Carolina State handedreeling Virginia its fourth loss in a row, 82-72.

The Wolfpack (17-11, 7-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) won for the fourth timein five games and moved into a five-way tie for fourth in the league. Theyclose the regular season Saturday at home against No. 4 Wake Forest.

Virginia (13-13, 4-11) lost for the 12th time in 17 games since an 8-1 startand faces a regular season finale at Florida State on Sunday in a battle forlast place in the conference.

The Cavaliers trailed most of the way, pulling even twice in the first halfand then again at 40 on T.J. Bannister’s 15-footer with 17:03 left.

But as they had the first two times, the Wolfpack immediately pulled away asCollins got free inside, Engin Atsur and Collins hit consecutive 3-pointers andTony Bethel’s two free throws made it 50-40.

Virginia rallied again, using a 9-4 run to get within 54-49, but theWolfpack never let them get closer than five the rest of the way.

The game might have been the final at University Hall for Virginia coachPete Gillen, even though he has six years remaining on a contract paying him anaverage of $900,000 per year. The Cavaliers began the season with highexpectations but will need to win the ACC tournament that begins next week togain their second NCAA tourney berth in Gillen’s seven seasons.

The loss also made an NIT bid more than a little sketchy for the Cavaliers,who will need to win at Florida State or twice in the ACC tournament to have achance of finishing with a .500 record or better.

The Wolfpack, meanwhile, are finishing strong in their bid for NCAAconsideration. N.C. State’s only loss in five games came to No. 2 NorthCarolina.

Hodge took only five shots, but his assist total was one more than Virginiamanaged. Bethel added 16 points and Ilian Evtimov 12.

Sean Singletary led Virginia with 17 points before fouling out. Jason Cainand Devin Smith had 13 each, and Gary Forbes had 12.

Elton Brown, who played just 4 minutes when the Cavaliers won 64-62 inRaleigh, N.C., on Feb. 5, started his final home game and struggled. He missedhis first five free throws, dropping him to 3-for-18 from the line in his lasttwo home games, then made one to loud, sarcastic applause.

He finished with five points and seven rebounds.

The Wolfpack led 12-2 after 6 minutes, but Virginia tied it for the secondtime at 31 on Singletary’s drive. But Jordan Collins’ 10-footer and IlianEvtimov’s 3-pointer at the buzzer made it 36-31 at the half.

Before the game, the school honored senior captains Smith and Brown, both ofwhom went over 1,000 points this season and both of whom were making their lastregular season appearances at University Hall.

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