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Virginia seeking season’s first road win at NC State

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North Carolina State looks to extend its three-game winning streak and remain unbeaten in the Atlantic Coast Conference on Saturday when Virginia visits Raleigh, N.C.

The Wolfpack (10-3, 2-0) have won six of their last seven overall heading into their first ACC home game. The Cavaliers (11-3, 2-1) have lost both of their true road games so far — by a combined 45 points.

Virginia is trying to get its season back on track and restore its reputation as a Top 25 program and one of the best in the ACC.

The Cavaliers fell out of the polls after a 77-54 loss to Memphis on Dec. 19, and then put another tally in the loss column at Notre Dame on Dec. 30, 76-54. Virginia rebounded with a win over the ACC’s worst team, Louisville, but a second straight win over NC State would go a long way in building confidence for the Cavaliers.

“It was a step in the right direction for sure,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said after beating the Cardinals on Wednesday. “We were more ready and obviously it helped being at home, but the guys responded and got a good lift.”

Against Louisville, Virginia handled its business the way a good team should against a not-so-good one. The Cavaliers had just three turnovers and shot 51.7 percent from the floor while notching 20 assists on 30 made baskets. Ryan Dunn had 15 points and 10 rebounds while Isaac McKneely scored 18 points. Reece Beekman leads the team in scoring this season with 12.9 points per game.

While Virginia struggled in South Bend, NC State was able to escape the state of Indiana with a 54-52 win over Notre Dame on Wednesday. DJ Burns Jr. had 13 points and four rebounds and sank the game-winning shot with 0.6 seconds left. The buzzer-beater by Burns was the first time NC State had the lead.

The Wolfpack won despite one of their worst 3-point shooting performances of the season, making just 3 of 17 shots (17.6 percent) from behind the arc.

“It wasn’t pretty at all,” coach Kevin Keatts said. “In order to compete in this league, you’ve got to win all types of games. Give credit to Notre Dame. I mean they came out and punched us in the face a little bit. … We just hung in there and found a way to win.”

While Burns averages 13.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the Wolfpack, DJ Horne leads the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game.

–Field Level Media

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