ACC Tournament: Wood leads N.C. State into semifinal
GREENSBORO — Scott Wood has made a living outside the 3-point arc and its now gotten him inside the N.C. State record book.
A hot streak to start the second half for Wood gave State the separation it needed in a 75-56 win against Virginia in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament Friday.
Wood hit a season-high seven 3-pointers to give him 326 for his career and pass Rodney Monroe as the school’s record-holder. The senior had hit 28 of 52 3-pointers in Greensboro Coliseum for his career, a 53.8 percent clip. He finished with 23 points.
“When Wood gets it going they become so dangerous,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “I think they’re the most offensively talented team in our league with the five on the floor at most times.”
State (24-9), trying to shed its regular season reputation of inconsistency, is having another late-season rebirth with the trio of Richard Howell, Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie thriving along with Wood. Howell was at the forefront of the inside game, with a team-high 12 rebounds and helping State outrebound UVA 39-28. Leslie lived up to his billing as the conference’s preseason player of the year with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
“N.C. State certainly used their athleticism,” Bennett said. “They used their toughness and got a lot of offensive rebounds. They got some transition buckets and we didn’t play very well so that’s the result against a talented team like that.”
The Wolfpack moves on to the semifinal where it will face Miami, who beat State on a Reggie Johnson tip-in with one second left in Raleigh last month. Miami survived a gritty effort from Boston College in its quarterfinal game.
“I think our team is beginning to find that groove,” State coach Mark Gottfried said. “I think we’re gettin’ in a good spot. It was a good team win for us and now we got to get ready to play a really good team tomorrow.”
Wood passed Monroe early in the second half when he drained three 3’s in a 1:23 span. All of Wood’s shot attempts were 3’s as he went 7 of 12.
“Any time I get a good look I’m going to take advantage of it,” Wood said. “My teammates did a good job of setting screens and gave me a couple of good looks and once I started knocking them down it gave me confidence.”
NCSU shot 45.8 percent for the game with UVA hitting 38.9 percent from the floor.
State made the Tournament semifinals by beating UVA for the second straight year. The Cavs started out 5 of 17 from the field shooting and Wood gave State a 22-12 edge on a trey with six minutes left in the first half. Wood drilled another one on a fast break led by Tyler Lewis. A T.J. Warren jumper put State up 30-21 at halftime.
Woood would get 17 of his 23 in the second half, where the Wolfpack pulled away. He scored nine straight as State went up 41-23. Leslie added a 3-point play to bring the large State fanbase to its feet.
“We know we have a bunch of people who can score,” Wood said. “Anytime we’re in our stance and guarding the way we’re capable of, we know we can be a dangerous team.”
A day after the Wolfpack contained Virgnia Tech’s Erick Green, it kept All-ACC Player Joe Harris from going off. Harris made just 2 of 9 three-point attempts and was 4 of 13 from the field in a 13-point effort. Akil Mitchell led UVA (21-11) with 19 points.
Lorenzo Brown followed a superb effort against Virginia Tech with nine points, six assists and five boards. Virginia beat State in January in Charlottesville when the Wolfpack lost Brown, the league leader in assists, to an ankle injury. Brown needs 26 more assists to crack the ACC’s all-time top 25 list.
“We had a stretch where Lorenzo was hurt and missed some games,” Gottfried said. “A couple of games he wasn’t even 75 percent. Now I think he’s much healthier and that’s helping us.”