In a thoroughly dominating performance in the Second Round of the ACC Tournament, the Wolfpack defeated Virginia, 75-56.
Scott Wood was on fire in the second half, seemingly throwing in three point shots as if they were balls tossed at the side of a barn. The vaunted UVA defense could do little to stop the senior, who finished the game with 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. But that line doesn’t tell the whole story: Wood, often unappreciated for his defensive effort frustrated Virginia star Joe Harris for most of the night. Wood’s defensive effort was largely responsible for Harris being unable to set the tone and that put the Cavs out of synch for the game…and when the Wolfpack got back the ball, often it was Wood who was swishing the ball through the net or making a key pass to extend the Pack’s lead.
Despite a few “CJ” moments, Calvin Leslie had a hard-working game. His 17 points and 11 rebounds with three blocks were key, as was his effort throughout. Leslie was double-teamed for much of the day and had a tough day around the basket, but the mercurial junior made the most of a 5-17 shooting performance by never giving up on loose balls and coolly sinking 5 of his 7 free throws. His seventeen seemed to quietly accumulate, and on the surface it may have seemed like he had a bad game — but that impression would be wrong.
The boxscore cannot show the intangibles that make often make the difference between victory and defeat, and there, Leslie had perhaps his best game of the year. With 16:31 left, and the game still long in doubt, Leslie followed Scott Wood’s three a few moments before with an old-fashioned three-point play of his own, by driving past Evan Nolte for a score, the sinking the free throw that followed – a play that put the Pack up 44-25 and the game out of reach for Virginia. They never got closer than eleven after that, as the Wolfpack collectively had an answer for every Virginia parry the rest of the way.
Freshman TJ Warren was also solid, giving the Pack eighteen points in a game that saw starter Richard Howell largely frustrated throughout. Warren did have one junior moment when he was called for a technical by tossing the ball at the feet of a Virginia player after he was called for a foul. The Hoos sank one of the two free throws and then followed with a three, but that was only a whisper in a wind of the Wolfpack roars today in Greensboro.
Up tomorrow the Pack faces the only team to beat them at home this year, the Miami Hurricanes.
Discuss, and we will add more in a bit.