It was going to be tough for NC State to win at Virginia without getting good performances from Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner, and alas, a big night was not in the cards. T was fine, but Joiner was badly frustrated by Virginia’s defense and had a woeful night shooting it.
State’s entire first half was pretty brutal, as the Cavaliers came out sharp at both ends of the floor and quickly put the Wolfpack into a significant hole. NC State spent a lot of the half just trying to prevent things from getting entirely out of hand and trailed by 14 at the break.
The Pack’s performance was better in the second and the guys had a chance down the stretch to put some real pressure on Virginia but couldn’t make the plays needed to do so. Casey Morsell had a good look to trim the margin to seven with about three minutes left, and this was right after Greg Gantt had an open layup blocked. Coulda woulda.
That probably wasn’t going to turn the tide, though, as in general State wasn’t good enough offensively. The refs sure didn’t help matters, but they didn’t cost the Pack this game. Just can’t have that kind of first half performance on the road against a good team and have a realistic shot at victory.
State won decisively on the boards and UVA didn’t exactly have a banner night shooting it, but State also needed to win in the turnover column and finished -7 there, while the Cavaliers had a big edge in free throw attempts to help carry them through.
A disappointing night, but not one that has to hurt, assuming NC State can get back to its winning ways at Boston College on Saturday.