CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Jayden Gardner scored 18 points and Reece Beekman added 15 and No. 8 Virginia cooled off red-hot No. 22 North Carolina State 63-50 on Tuesday night.
The Cavaliers (18-4, 10-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) handed the Wolfpack (19-6, 9-5) their second loss in 10 games and moved into a share of first place in the conference with Clemson and Pittsburgh.
The Wolfpack arrived leading the ACC with an average of 79.6 points and were 19-2 when scoring at least 70, but became the 38th consecutive league opponent held below 70 points at John Paul Jones Arena.
Terquavion Smith led N.C. State with 19 points and Casey Morsell, who spent his first two seasons at Virginia and was jeered nearly every time he touched the ball in his first game back, had 18 points before fouling out in the final minute.
Jarkel Joiner, the Wolfpack’s No. 2 scorer at 16.2 points per game, missed 12 of his 14 shots and scored five points. D.J. Burns Jr. (eight points) was the only other Wolfpack player to score.
Reserve forward Kadin Shedrick, who did not play in Virginia’s loss at Virginia Tech on Saturday, had 10 points and six rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Virginia scored the first six points of the second half to open its largest lead at 40-20, but the Wolfpack began whittling away, fueled by a 12-6 burst in which Smith and Morsell each hit a pair of 3-pointers.
N.C. State twice closed within nine points but got no closer. Morsell’s 3 made it 55-46 with 3:46 to play, but Beekman made a free throw and then took a no-look pass from Kihei Clark for an easy backdoor layup.
Virginia closed the first half on an 8-2 run to lead 34-20 at the break. The Wolfpack missed 10 straight shots before Burns scored just before the half.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack got scoring from just three players — Smith with nine points, Morsell with seven and Burns with four — in the opening half. They shot 25.8% with Smith going 4-for-13 and Joiner 0-for-6. … Burns picked up his third personal foul less than a minute into the second half after getting the ball stolen by Beekman. He stayed in the game and drew his fourth foul on a drive by Clark with 16:03 left.
Virginia: Beekman started the game ranking first in the ACC in assist/turnover ratio (3.0) and third in assists (5.1). He had four assists and one turnover. Clark started first in assists (6.0) and second in assist/turnover ratio (2.8). He had six assists and three turnovers.
N.C. State: At Boston College on Saturday.
Virginia: Hosts Duke on Saturday.
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