Virginia becomes NC State's latest upset victimMar 10, 2007 - 5:43 AM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Sidney Lowe's first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament as coach of North Carolina State is turning into a memorable one.
Needing four wins in four days to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, the Wolfpack are halfway there after posting a 79-71 victory over No. 24 Virginia in a quarterfinal matchup.
NC State (17-14), the 10th seed, pulled off a shocker on Thursday with an 85-80 triumph over Duke, which had won seven of the last eight ACC tournament titles.
The win over the Blue Devils looked like it would be the highlight of the tournament for the Wolfpack, which shot just 33 percent (8-of-24) in the first half as the Cavaliers built a 40-26 lead.
"We stopped competing, they kept competing and they never gave up down 14," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said. "As a result, they put it to us."
A 10-3 run to start the second half got the NC State back in the game but it was its decision to abandon the 3-pointer, turn up the defense and pound the ball inside that made the difference.
"I thought we certainly played a lot better in the second half," Lowe said. "We made a few adjustments defensively and more important I guess, offensively."
Freshman Brandon Costner scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half in another strong performance. An All-ACC Freshman team selection, Costner scored 30 points in the win over Duke.
Costner got help from Gavin Grant, who scored nine of his 20 points in the final two minutes. Grant scored seven straight points to five the Wolfpack a 75-66 lead with 31 seconds to play.
"When you can get on a little run like that, I think you saw his confidence building every time he touched the ball," Lowe said. "He put it in the hole and he carried us for a few minutes there on that run."
"It was all our offense. It wasn't even designed for me, it was designed for anyone who was open," Grant said. "It was all on the offense, it could have been anybody else."
Sean Singletary scored 23 points and J.R. Reynolds had 11 for Virginia (20-10), which has not won the ACC tournament since 1976.
"We played good for a half but we didn't seal the deal," Singletary said. "They came out with a lot more energy than us in the second half."
The Wolfpack, who will meet Virginia Tech in the semifinals, now holds a commanding 12-2 advantage over the Cavaliers in ACC tournament games.
NC State swept the season series from Virginia Tech, including an 81-56 victory on February 18.
- ACC TOURNAMENT
AT TAMPA FL
NCAA BB ACC TOURNAMENT
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
NC STATE 26 53 79
VIRGINIA (24) 40 31 71 FINAL
Mar 9 9:17 PM
- ACC TOURNAMENT
AT TAMPA FL
NCAA BB NC STATE 26
VIRGINIA (24) 40 HALFTIME
Mar 9 8:01 PM
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