Sometimes reality is exactly how you imagine it. NC State played even with Virginia for a half, but the Cavaliers got better at both ends, Cat Barber was contained, and the Wolfpack ran out of short-term answers. Virginia outscored State by 20 in the second half en route to the 73-53 victory.
NC State's offense has been inconsistent a lot this season, on account of its spotty shooting. Virginia's defense is so good that it can make great offenses look out of sorts. Those extremes met in the second half in the worst conceivable way for the Pack, as UVA built a quick 11-point lead. Mark Gottfried spent a couple of timeouts during the Hoos' run in an effort to reshuffle things, but there was no use. Whatever advantages State had in the very early stages of the game had been long-since hunted out and eradicated.
The first half was NC State playing pretty well against a very good team. The focus and ball movement early on was good--State wasn't getting much for Barber, but it did find opportunities for his teammates; Lennard Freeman, most notably. Freeman scored a half dozen points early on.
It was a dream start (6-6 from the field!) for a poor-shooting club, and it couldn't last. In the second half, Virginia responded in kind, but wouldn't allow the Wolfpack to keep pace. NC State's weaknesses at the offensive end are particularly evident against a team like Virginia, even if they can be masked for a handful of minutes--and when you have no options but to cycle through the same seven guys, well, ... the ceiling really closes in on you.
Regression is a real bummer sometimes.
Barber scored a team-high 14 points, on 4-11 shooting. Cody Martin had an outstanding night, with 12 points on 6-10 shooting. No other Wolfpack player hit double digits. Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes combined for 41 points for Virginia.
NC State is 13-13 (3-10) with the loss.