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UVA basketball’s home win in overtime against NC State: Five takeaways

The Virginia Cavaliers pulled off a nail-biting 59-53 overtime triumph against the NC State Wolfpack in a hard-fought defensive battle. The game unfolded as a gritty contest marked by tough defense, poor shooting, and turnovers on both ends of the court. Despite Virginia’s substantial lead at halftime, the Wolfpack staged a comeback in the second half, ultimately pushing the game into overtime. This victory extends the Cavaliers’ ACC win streak to three games, with an overall record of 14-5 and a 5-3 standing in the ACC.

Key Takeaways:

1. Rebounding Turnaround:

Virginia, often criticized for rebounding struggles, showcased a remarkable improvement by out-rebounding NC State 54-32. The Cavaliers secured an impressive 20 offensive rebounds, a season-high. Key players like Ryan Dunn, Blake Buchanan, and Jordan Minor played significant roles. The team’s commitment to dominating the boards demonstrated a level of intensity not consistently seen this season.

2. Second-Half Challenge:

Despite holding a seemingly comfortable 35-22 lead with 13 minutes remaining in the second half, Virginia faced a formidable comeback from NC State. The Cavaliers struggled to find the basket, allowing the Wolfpack to briefly take the lead. The game eventually went into overtime, where Virginia’s defense and crucial plays from Taine Murray secured the hard-fought victory.

3. Solid Interior Defense:

Virginia’s interior defense, previously a vulnerability, showed significant improvement. Jordan Minor’s role in containing NC State’s DJ Burns was crucial, with Ryan Dunn’s six blocks contributing to effective defense. The Cavaliers successfully limited the Wolfpack’s interior scoring compared to their previous matchup.

4. Offensive Struggles Against Pressure:

Virginia encountered difficulties dealing with NC State’s pressure defense, resulting in contested shots and an elevated number of turnovers. The absence of Reece Beekman as the primary ball handler was notable, emphasizing the team’s need for offensive creativity and better ball security.

5. Tournament Aspirations:

While not a game-changer, this win contributes to Virginia’s resurgence in the NCAA Tournament picture. The team’s recent performance, defensive prowess, and favorable metrics suggest positive momentum. To strengthen their case, the Cavaliers need to secure key victories in upcoming challenging games and avoid setbacks against lower-ranked ACC opponents.

In summary, Virginia’s triumph over NC State signifies a positive step forward, highlighting improved rebounding, defensive resilience, and an ongoing journey to solidify their position in the NCAA Tournament.

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