Whether or not you are ready to admit it, the vice that Virginia puts on you is always there, slowly letting them bend you in the wrong direction. The Cavs play slow, but they win in the long run by pushing you into way too many low-percentage plays.
NC State took a two-point lead into halftime, but that first half was not a well-played one from an execution standpoint—the Wolfpack made none of its three-point attempts and less than 40% of its twos. UVA happened to play along with turnovers and missed shots. In the second half, well, uh, that changed.
That’s the thing when you are able to rely so heavily on defense—if it takes 20 minutes for you to get cooking at the offensive end, then fine, you can wait that long. It didn’t take Virginia much time to reverse its course and start making shots in the second half, and NC State didn’t get the standout performances it needed to meet those terms.
DJ Funderburk was great in the first half, the spark that State needed after falling behind 16-6. Markell Johnson and Torin Dorn didn’t contribute much, and CJ Bryce was neutralized by the UVA defense and foul trouble.
State’s halftime advantage was a house of cards and down it tumbled after the break. Outside of DJ Funderburk, you’ll not find a noteworthy performance by a Wolfpack player today. That’s a credit to how well Virginia plays defense.
None of what happened is an indictment of NC State’s effort. State didn’t get off to a bad start in the second half, and the guys played hard, but as they started to miss free throws, everything began to snowball on them. Virginia will kill the hell out of you if you do not take full advantage of easy opportunities. That happened in the second half.