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Virginia 67, NC State 62

Official Box Score

NC StateFour FactorsPercenteFG47.3Turnover Rate15.1Off Reb Rate12.1FTM/FGA18.2

VirginiaFour FactorsPercenteFG42.4Turnover Rate13.6Off Reb Rate40.0FTM/FGA16.7

-- Opportunity squandered, but I agree totally with what Sidney said in GoPack's recap:

"I’m very proud," said Lowe of NC State’s effort. "Coming into this environment for the first time with this group of guys and they put themselves in the position. That’s what you ask of a veteran ball club when you’re on the road. These guys did it. I’m very proud of the fact that they put themselves in a position. If we keep putting ourselves in that position, we’ll get some."

This is the right perspective. If the effort and poise are there, everything else is gravy. It seems like there is a pleasant surprise for us every time the Pack takes the court; in this case, it was the way we handled our first tough road environment. Virginia was one of the best home teams in conference play last season--in particular, the Cavs' offense averaged 1.12 points/possession. Today they scored 67 points on 66 possessions: 1.01 points/possession.

-- With three of the four factors being pretty much even, the difference in this close game was obviously rebounding. Also from the recap:

The Cavaliers had 15 second chance points on 18 offensive rebounds compared to only three second chance on four offensive boards for the Wolfpack.

"It’s very deflating," Lowe said. "You’re down there fighting and they’re just pushing you out of the way and getting the rebound. I told our guys that we’ve got to get tougher; they’re pushing, but we’ve got to push back. They were just a little more aggressive and probably a little fresher because they were running guys in and out and we couldn’t do that."

Second chance points: UVA 15, NC State 3. As luck would have it, we couldn't force many turnovers (and UVA didn't inflict many errors on itself), so the only way we could get stops was to rebound...which we didn't. Fifteen or sixteen UVA turnovers--and the extra 5-6 possessions we'd have gotten--could have proven the difference for us. Virginia grabbed 40% of the misses at their end of the court, and that saved the Cavs from having a truly terrible day offensively. An offensive efficiency of 101 is mediocre, but it probably should have been worse considering they shot an adjusted 42.4 percent.

-- Costner was the Pack's model of shooting efficiency today: 65.4 eFG%, 1.31 PPWS. He's got a smooth left-handed stroke from outside (not as smooth as my left-handed shooting stroke, mind you, but his is still pretty good) that's fun to watch. None of the other regulars came close to matching his efficiency. Grant: 0.84 PPWS. Fells: 1.0 PPWS. McCauley: 0.93 PPWS.

-- For the fourth straight game, Gavin Grant used over 30% of the team's possessions while on the court. His usage today (33.8%) was crazy-high. Here's last season's leaderboard in the usage category. What Gavin does with all those possessions naturally has a large influence on the team's overall efficiency; he's been bad the last couple of games and the team has as well. But I don't want to be too hard on Gavin what with Atsur sidelined. With Engin, we've got five guys on the court who can score. Without Engin, we've got four scorers and a fifth guy who basically just takes up space. That fifth man is using very few possessions, a good bit less than Atsur had been using, so that leaves some workload to be redistributed among the other four guys on the court--and those extra possessions are going to Gavin, rightfully or wrongfully.

Grant's turnover rate is fine, and he continues to do a good job getting everyone else involved.