Gary Hahn's Scouting Report: Virginia
NC STATE (11-7, 1-4) vs. VIRGINIA (11-6, 3-2)
DATE: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 @ RBC Center, Raleigh, NC (19,722)
TIME: Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. EST
RADIO: Wolfpack Sports Network
AIRTIME: 8:30 p.m. EST
TELEVISION: Raycom/Lincoln Financial Sports (ACC Network)OPPONENT-- The weather was cold and snowy Sunday afternoon in Charlottesville, but J.R. Reynolds was red hot. He scored a career-high 40 points, the most by an ACC player this season, to lift Virginia over Wake Forest 88-76.
The Demon Deacons had no answer for the senior guard who made his first five shots, including three 3-pointers. He finished 12-of-18 from the field, 6-of-8 from beyond the arc and made all 10 of his foul shots. The six three-point field goals were also a career-high.
The victory was the second straight for Virginia and was keyed by a first half offensive explosion from Reynolds (20 points) and Sean Singletary. The pair combined for 37 of the Cavaliers 40 first half points.
Trailing by two, Wake Forest opened the second half with a triangle-and-two defense in which two players shadowed Reynolds and Singletary while the others played a zone. The strategy failed because other Virginia players stepped up.
The Wahoos outscored the Deaks 14-4 in the first 5:30 of the second half as Jason Cain, Mamadi Diane, Laurynas Mikalauskas and Adrian Joseph accounted for all the Virginia points.
Singletary finished with 19 points while Diane and Cain each chipped in with 10. Jamie Skeen (14) and Ishmael Smith (13) led the Deacons scoring.
Virginia shot nearly 59 percent in the second half (17-29) and outscored Wake Forest by 10 points over the final 20 minutes of play. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers low-post defense frustrated Deacons center Kyle Visser. The 6-11 senior entered the game averaging nearly 18 points and 8 rebounds, but missed 8-of-10 shots from the field, committed 5 turnovers and was held to 8 points.
Rebounding helped Wake Forest stay in the game. The Deaks held a 14-5 edge on the offensive glass and outscored Virginia 12-5 in second chance points. The Wahoos countered by making 11-of-22 shots from the 3-point arc and by scoring 19 points off 17 Wake Forest turnovers.
The Cavaliers strength is at guard where there is a lot of talent and quickness. Singletary, an All-ACC selection last season, has developed into one of the league’s top players. He leads the ACC in scoring and he can be dominating. In his last 7 games, including a 37 point performance against Gonzaga, Singletary has averaged 23.4 points and 5.1 assists.
The junior from Philadelphia also ranks in the ACC’s top-10 in four other categories. He leads the league in free throw shooting (.923) and is fourth in 3-point percentage (.402) and assists (5.29) and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.73-to-1).Reynolds, the team’s No.2 scorer, is this week’s ACC Player of the Week. The Roanoke native Reynolds totaled 57 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the Cavaliers' two conference victories last week. He was 15-31 (48.4 percent) from the field, including 6-13 (46.2 percent) from three-point range, and 21-22 (.955) from the free throw line.
In ACC games, the Cavaliers are No.2 in the league in scoring (80.0). They like to play fast, push the ball up the floor and spot up for 3-point shots or drive to create scoring opportunities. Both Singletary and Reynolds initiate a lot of Virginia’s offense with dribble penetration.
The Cavaliers average more made three-point field goals (8.29) per game than any other ACC team and shoot 37 percent from the arc. The top gunners are Singletary and Reynolds who combine to average 49 percent of Virginia’s 3-point attempts.
Free throw shooting is also a strength of the Wahoos. Virginia gets to the line an average of 28 times a game and its .735 percentage is No.2 in the ACC.
While Singletary and Reynolds are the major offensive fixtures, Diane, Joseph and Cain complement them well and know their roles. Diane leads the team in 3-point percentage (.406) while Joseph is a streaky shooter who lends experience and rebounding strength. Cain is 11th in the ACC in rebounding and can defend inside.
Virginia is next-to-last in scoring defense (77.2) in conference games. Although they are allowing points, they’re making opponents earn them. The Cavaliers are holding ACC opponents to a league best (.402) shooting percentage from the field and .316 from the 3-point arc (No.3 ACC).
League foes usually don’t get a lot of second shots against Virginia. The Cavs are tied with UNC as the best defensive rebounding team in the ACC in conference games. Overall, the Wahoos are outrebounding their opponents by a +6 average while getting back 41 percent of their missed shots.
Rebounding was the key to Virginia’s 67-62 win over NC State on December 3rd. The Cavaliers held an 18-4 edge on the offensive glass and outscored the Wolfpack 15-3 in second-chance points. Will Harris was also a factor. The freshman forward, who averages 4.2 points a game, came off the bench and scored 14 points and shot 5-of-6 from the field.
NC State has won 9 of the last 13 games against Virginia in the series and has beaten the Cavaliers in 8 of the last 10 meetings in Raleigh. The Pack beat Virginia at home last season 66-64.PROBABLE VIRGINIA STARTERS
No. Name Pos. Ht. Class PPG RPG APG
32 Jason Cain F 6’10 Sr. 7.4 6.5 0.9*
24 Mamadi Diane G/F 6'5 So. 11.7 3.8 1.4
11 Laurynas Mikalauskas C 6’8 So. 3.9 1.8 --
02 J.R. Reynolds G 6'3 Sr. 17.6 3.8 4.2
44 Sean Singletary G 6'0 Jr. 19.0 3.9 5.3
21 Tunji Soroye C 6'11 Jr. 1.3 1.8 --
30 Adrian Joseph G 6'7 Jr. 8.0 4.4 0.8
01 Will Harris F/G 6’6 Fr. 4.2 4.2 --
12 Jamil Tucker F 6’8 Fr. 4.0 2.5 --
* Blocked shots per game
A WIN--Would be the Wolfpack's second in its last three games, improving NC State to 12-7 overall and 2-4 in the ACC. The Pack would earn its 10th victory in the last 14 games of the series with Virginia and 9th in the last 11 meetings in Raleigh. NC State would improve to 11-4 at home this season and win its first ACC home game while breaking a two game Virginia winning streak (Maryland and Wake Forest). The Cavaliers would drop to 11-7 overall and 3-3 in the ACC.
A LOSS--Would be the Wolfpack's second in-a-row and fourth in the last five games. The Pack would drop to 11-8 overall and 1-5 in the ACC. It would mark State’s first 1-5 ACC start since 1997-98 when the State finished 5-11 in the ACC. The Wolfpack would fall to 10-5 at home this season (0-4 ACC).Virginia would record its second road win over NC State in the last 3 years. Virginia would win its third straight game and improve to 12-6 overall and 4-2 in the ACC. The Cavaliers would sweep the regular season series with State for the first time since 1996-97.THE OLD MAN—Guard Engin Atsur is the Wolfpack’s only senior starter and its only point guard. The native of Istanbul, Turkey, was off to a great start this season when a pulled hamstring muscle six minutes into the Michigan game on November 27th knocked him out of action for 9 straight games. The Pack managed a 5-4 record without him. When he returned on Jan. 6 against Boston College, Atsur dished out a career-high 10 assists. Unfortunately, he reinjured the muscle on Jan. 7th and missed the Pack’s last 3 games. He is listed as day-to-day. With Atsur on the sidelines, Gavin Grant handles point guard duties while the Pack’s limited rotation drops another man.
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS –When Atsur is out of the lineup, State’s ball handling suffers. In 5 ACC games, opponents have scored 72 points off 75 NC State turnovers. On January 20th, Duke scored 25 points off 20 Wolfpack turnovers in a 79-56 win.
GENERAL GRANT WON’T SURRENDER –Junior Gavin Grant was forced into a difficult spot when Engin Atsur was injured. The slashing shooting guard was forced to play the point and has tried to make the best of a difficult situation. Grant continues to score (15.6) and rebound (5.4) while leading the Wolfpack in assists (83). He’s also played every minute in 6 games this season. In his last 5 games, Grant has averaged 18.6 points (93) while shooting 33-of-59 from the field (.559).
BOARD BATTLE-- Rebounding has been a challenge for the Wolfpack this season. The Pack has won or tied the rebounding battle with its opponents 8 times this season and has a 6-2 record to show for it. When the Pack has lost the rebounding battle, State is 5-5.FAB FROSH--Redshirt freshman Brandon Costner played in only five games before an injury ended his 2005-06 season. This season, Costner is showing the potential that made him a Parade and McDonalds High School All-American. He is the ACC’s top freshman scorer and rebounder. The New Jersey native leads the Pack in scoring (16.8) and rebounding (7.9) while shooting 49 percent from the field. He also leads State with 29 three-point field goals (29-80).
3-POINT DEFENSE AND REBOUNDING –Those two areas have been issues for the young Wolfpack. In 5 ACC games, opponents are 37-99 from the three-point arc (37%) while outrebounding State 188-137 overall and 71-29 on the offensive glass.
WANTED: MORE DEFENSE –The Wolfpack is still looking for a complete 40-minute defensive effort this season. State’s last 5 opponents have averaged 81.4 points (407) and shot .427 from the arc (47-110).
BIG BEN --The most improved player on the NC State team is Ben McCauley. He’s the team’s No.2 scorer (16.2), leads the Pack in shooting (.599) and steals (1.3) while running second in rebounding (6.5) and total assists (66). That’s quite a step up for a guy who saw very little playing time a year ago. The sophomore center averaged 5.5 minutes in 13 ACC games last season.
NOTHING FOUL ABOUT THIS--State is once again a good free throw shooting team. The Pack is shooting .726 from the foul line (270-372). Last season, the Wolfpack shot .751 from the stripe.
STILL TAKING OCCASSIONAL TRIPS DOWNTOWN --State no longer relies as much on three-point shooting as in past seasons, but that dosen’t mean the Wolfpack can’t shoot 3-pointers. In its last 4 games, State is shooting 49 percent from 3-point range (22-45). Under Sidney Lowe, the Pack is an inside-out team. Only 31.5 percent of State’s shots come from the arc compared to 46 percent last season.
CAN I HELP YOU? --NC State is averaging an assist on an impressive 59 percent of its field goals (283-477) this season. The Pack had 23 assists on 29 field goals in its loss to Alabama on 12/20/06.
HORNER IS HOT –Dennis Horner can shoot and his numbers reflect that. In his last 3 games, Horner has made 11-of-13 field goal attempts, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range. The freshman forward recorded a career-high 14 points against then-unbeaten Clemson on Jan. 9th.