There's a lot that could be said about the general unpleasantness that was this game. Twenty-one points was a score good enough to lead at halftime. NC State never found anything resembling a rhythm. This was a vintage Virginia nightmare, realized one stunted possession after another.
Still, Trevor Lacey had a chance in the final 15 seconds to tie the game with a layup in transition, and he missed. Once again State was ever-so-close in the late stages to securing a resume-defining victory at home, and one more time, it didn't work out.
This was a game State really could have used, but worse, it was a game it really really could have taken. Virginia matched the Pack brick for brick, and the Cavs were uncharacteristically dreadful at the free throw line. They struggled to find scoring all night with Justin Anderson out of the mix.
It was all there to be had. Virginia's defense was outstanding, as usual. But 51 points can't be enough. That should never be enough for a visiting team. State's overall approach was poor, especially for a team that's seen UVA once already this season.
The effort was good, but too many possessions got away from the Pack because they were unfocused. To the Cavaliers' credit, they make you get a lot of things right in order to beat them. State did some things right, just not enough.