Top seeded Virginia heats up to take down NC State, 76-56

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kyle Guy scored 29 points, including seven 3-pointers, and second-ranked Virginia rallied to beat North Carolina State 76-56 in Thursday's quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Big man Jack Salt provided an unexpected offensive boost with a career-high 18 points for the top-seeded Cavaliers (29-2), who trailed 29-27 at halftime. But Virginia shot 63 percent after the break and scored 49 points, with long runs of efficient offense to go with tough defense.

"He's a relentless worker, and Jack understands who he is," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "He finishes when stuff is there and gets offensive rebounds ... He's one of the best givers I've ever coached."

Guy made 10 of 13 shots and 7 of 9 from 3-point range for Virginia, which is trying to win back-to-back tournament titles. That was enough offense to offset a rough shooting day for Ty Jerome, who had two points on 1-for-11 shooting but had 10 assists.

NC State's Wyatt Walker, right, blocks a shot by Virginia's Jack Salt, left, during the first half of ACC Tournament Quarterfinals game on March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Markell Johnson had 13 points to lead the eighth-seeded Wolfpack (22-11), who shot 39 percent and made only 15 of 25 free throws.

"I don't think we wasted an opportunity because I don't think we played that much greater than them in the first half," Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said. "They just played better than us. They made plays. They got and-ones. They made their free throws. And for us in the second half, we didn't get those breaks."

N.C. State's Braxton Beverly (seven points) went 0 for 5 from behind the arc, pushing him to 3 of 23 on 3-pointers in the last four games.

"As long as you're confident in your shot like Kyle Guy, you know you're going to hit shots," Beverly said. "You just have to be confident every day and keep working."

The first half featured NC State playing outstanding defense and dominating Virginia inside the arc.

The Wolfpack finished the first half without making a single 3-point shot but still led.
But things only got worse for the Wolfpack. DJ Funderburk was forced to leave the game with an eye injury, and Virginia took advantage.

Funderburk would eventually return but it was too little too late.

NC State could not overcome Virginia's hot shooting.

Virginia finished the game shooting 52.1 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from 3. NC State only managed 37.5 percent from the field and 10.5 percent from 3 -- and shot a measly 60 percent from the free-throw line.

The Cavaliers will play Friday at 7 p.m. against the winner of Florida State and Virginia Tech.

N.C. State now awaits the unveiling of the NCAA tournament bracket.

"I think our resume speaks for itself," Wolfpack big man Wyatt Walker said.
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