RALEIGH, N.C. — Though No. 3 Virginia’s usual killer instinct was nowhere to be found Tuesday night, it still managed to hang on for a 66-65 overtime victory at No. 23 North Carolina State.
U.Va. (19-1, 7-1 ACC) made 6 of 7 free throws in overtime and got a huge late 3-pointer from an otherwise cold-shooting Kyle Guy to overcome 16 turnovers, which matched a season high, and extend its winning streak to 10 games at PNC Arena (6-0 against N.C. State, 4-0 in the NCAA tournament).
“We always talk about you’ve got to eliminate losing first, and taking care of the ball and defensive rebounding and (limit) transition baskets, and we did not do a good job in those areas,” said U.Va. coach Tony Bennett, whose team gave up a season-high 16 offensive rebounds while gathering 11 of its own. “We ran some good offense or took advantage of some of their breakdowns … and made enough big plays to pull it out.”
De’Andre Hunter led U.Va. with 15 points and made two free throws with five seconds left in overtime to put the Cavaliers up by three points, but he had to hold his breath in the waning moments. He fouled out on a 3-point attempt by N.C. State’s Markell Johnson with less than a second left.
“I know it was a bad foul,” Hunter said. “Everybody knows that, probably. That’s on me.”
Johnson, who paced N.C. State (16-5, 4-4) with 14 points, missed his first free throw with .9 of a second remaining. He made the second free throw to slice U.Va.’s lead to 66-64 and — after a U.Va. timeout — connected on the final free throw.
U.Va.’s Ty Jerome inbounded to Guy in the backcourt, and Guy flung the ball skyward as the clock expired. After averaging a winning margin of 22.3 points per game in its first six ACC victories, U.Va. had survived its first nail-biter of the season.
“It was a feeling of relief,” Guy said. “It was a bad game on our part. Coach was actually mad after the game and got after us because we didn’t play anywhere near our standards. He holds us to a high standard, so we know we didn’t play very well.”
U.Va., which played its first overtime game of the season, shot 46.2 percent from the floor and held N.C. State to 34.4 percent. Hunter and Braxton Key both went 2 of 2 from the free-throw line in overtime, while Jay Huff made 2 of 3 from the free-throw line in the final five minutes.
In addition to nearly doubling its national-low average of 8.4 turnovers per game entering the evening, U.Va. attempted a season-low 10 shots from 3-point range, including just one in the first half. It made four of the 3-pointers.
Jerome added 12 points, while Guy contributed with 10, but Guy made only 3 of 11 field-goal attempts. He was 1 of 5 from 3-point range.
N.C. State’s Torin Dorn scored 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the floor. Johnson made just 3 of 11 field-goal attempts, including 2 of 9 from beyond the 3-point line.
Johnson gave N.C. State its first and only lead at 58-55 with 4:39 left in overtime via a 3-pointer. It was a lead that would last for all of 18 seconds.
Huff dunked with 4:21 left, got fouled by Wyatt Walker and made a free throw to tie the game. With 3:47 left, Huff was fouled by Johnson and made 1 of 2 free throws to put U.Va. ahead 59-58.
N.C. State tied the game again at 61 with 2:22 left when Johnson made a pair of free throws, but Guy answered with his lone successful 3-pointer of the game in front of U.Va.’s bench off a pass from Jerome with two minutes remaining, giving the Cavaliers a 64-61 advantage. U.Va. would maintain its lead the rest of the game.
“One of them had to go in,” said Guy of his final 3-pointer.
Leading 42-28 with 11:41 left in regulation, U.Va. let its comfortable cushion slip away down the stretch.
U.Va. went four minutes, 44 seconds without making a shot from the floor before Hunter hit a short jumper with 7:39 left, but the Cavaliers’ advantage had been trimmed to 47-41 by that point.
Guy gave U.Va. some breathing room with 4:37 left when he followed a missed jumper in the lane with an offensive rebound and a follow layup to push the Cavaliers ahead 53-46. After Guy’s layup, U.Va. would make just one of its last five shots from the floor in regulation.
Walker had 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds. While he attempted just two shots from the floor, making both of them, he played a big role in the closing minutes for N.C. State.
His rebound and layup off a missed 3-pointer by Johnson with 3:21 left trimmed U.Va.’s lead to 53-48. After a missed jumper by U.Va.’s Mamadi Diakite, Dorn reduced the Cavaliers’ edge to 53-50 with 2:31 remaining when he drove baseline against Diakite and scored on a reverse layup.
U.Va. called a timeout to settle itself before its next possession, but Jerome had the ball swiped away by Devon Daniels. Dorn scored again on the other end with 1:57 left, cutting U.Va.’s lead to 53-52.
Buoyed by momentum generated in a 3-minute stretch, N.C. State continued its late rally when Walker rejected a dunk attempt by Key. Walker got his reward on the offensive side when he was fouled by Diakite.
Walker connected on 1 of 2 free throws with 1:29 left to tie the game at 53. Key got to the basket on U.Va.’s ensuing possession, sticking in a layup with 1:07 remaining to put the Cavaliers ahead 55-53.
On N.C. State’s final possession in regulation, U.Va.’s Jack Salt had no choice but to foul Johnson on a drive to the basket, sending him to the free-throw line with 29.7 seconds left. Salt fouled out on the drive.
Johnson made both free throws and Jerome came up empty on a contested layup with two seconds left while trying to drive past Dorn.
“I think we had a lot of mistakes — a lot of turnovers, a lot of offensive rebounds (by N.C. State),” Hunter said. “There was a lot of things that helped them get back into the game. They’re a good team. They played really hard.”