Wednesday, October 20

After a rare ACC loss, Virginia No. 14 visits the state of NC


Virginia has a number of issues to tackle heading into her next game after her long Atlantic Coast Conference winning streak came to a halt.

The No. 14 Cavaliers visit North Carolina for a catch-up performance Wednesday night in Raleigh, NC

NC State has its own problems after winning just one game in January and losing its leading scorer for the rest of the season in the process.

Virginia (11-3, 7-1 ACC) is coming off its first loss in more than a month, with a 10-point lead disappearing in a 65-51 loss Saturday night at Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers lacked the ability. to respond to difficult situations, according to his coach.

“I don’t think we answered that,” Tony Bennett said.

So a seven-game winning streak ended. Also, a series of 15 consecutive ACC wins dating back to last season fell by the wayside.

“There were a lot of missed assignments, some things we needed to do better,” Virginia center Jay Huff said. “We know what we did wrong. We just need to correct a few things.”

Virginia did not take advantage of a Virginia Tech team that did not have prominent Tyrece Radford suspended. The Cavaliers will try to do better against an NC State team that lost the team’s leading scorer, Devon Daniels, to a knee injury that ended the season last week.

The Wolfpack (7-6, 3-5) were also without striker DJ Funderburk due to college politics for their 79-76 loss in Syracuse on Sunday. Still, NC State clicked on offense during periods of the game.

“We have a lot of season to play,” said Jericole Hellems, a junior who scored 24 points, the best of his career, against the Orange. “We have a lot of things to work on and make adjustments, like any team would do if they lose a player or lose a player. We just had to be mentally strong on and off the pitch. We will.

Still, NC State shot 0-for-8 from 3-point range in the second half at Syracuse.

NC State coach Kevin Keatts said more adjustments will come.

“We have to investigate and improve it,” he said. “We haven’t had time to adjust to playing without Devon.”

Wolfpack freshman Dereon Seabron hopes to be more on the court in upcoming games. Seabron is averaging 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

“I think everyone has the opportunity to step up and make great plays,” Seabron said. “Certainly (Daniels) was a great piece of our team, so with him out, someone else will have to take over.”

Funderburk’s status is uncertain, publicly at least, and Keatts says there is no timeline for his possible return.

For Virginia, it’s time to remind her that a brave nature is probably better suited to the team than trying to rely on skill alone.

“Finesse doesn’t work in this league,” Bennett said. “You have to figure out how to cut harder, make a stronger screen, move harder, and you can’t expect to be able to go wherever you want, and that’s where I think we need to be more assertive in all areas (against Hokies).”

NC State absorbed eight straight series losses with Virginia before posting a two-point loss on the road last season.

The Wolfpack and the Cavaliers were scheduled to meet on January 20 in Charlottesville, Virginia, but the game was canceled due to NC State coronavirus issues.

–Field level media




www.si.com

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