North Carolina's State's blistering start and Hawkeye Whitney's strong all-around play defeated Virginia, 64-56, in an Atlantic Coast Conference game today.
State which scored its last 14 points at the foul line, raced to a 10-point lead midway through the first half, then slowed the pace for a 28-18 halftime advantage. The Wolfpack shot 67 percent in that half as forward Whitney picked up 10 of his 21 points. Virginia shot only 35 percent that half.
Regular starter Lee Raker was on the Cavalier bench with a shoulder separation and forward Mike Owens, normally a 58 percent shooter, went scoreless. Owens had missed practice Friday because of a sore ankle, Virginia Coach Terry Holland said.
State's aggressive man-to-man defense, used all game, was extremely effective, sagging to help center Craig Watts shut down Virginia's big man, Ralph Sampson, the 7-foot-4 freshman made only four of 10 shots and finished with 11 points.
"I thought our defense was excellent," State Coach Norman Sloan said. "Our board play was good. It's that much tougher when you're going against a guy like Sampson. He's a great ballplayer, but Watts just played extremely well."
Sampson pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds but, as Holland said, "Ralph gathers a crowd wherever he goes. They keep the ball away from him and we missed the early perimeter shots."
Led by last season's ACC scoring leader, Jeff Lamp, who accounted for 18 of his 25 points in the final period, Virginia closed to 46-42 with nine minutes to go.
But every time Virginia got close, Whitney took over. With seven minutes remaining, the former De Matha All-Met blocked a reverse layup by Sampson, recovered the ball and led a fast break that resulted in a three-point play for Kenny Mathews, a Dunbar graduate.
On the next play, Whitney stole the ball and fed freshman Dereck Whittenburg, another De Matha man, for a layup that gave State a 52-42 margin.
Among the past recipients of the that point and, led by another De Matha freshman, Sidney Lowe, ran out the final 6:30 without having to make another field goal.
State raised its record to 11-1, 3-0 in the ACC, while Virginia went at 12-2, 3-1 in the conference.