Jeff Lamp scored on an off-balance, 13-foot jump shot with four seconds left to give 17th-ranked Virginia a hard-fought, 49-47 decision over North Carolina State in an ACC game today before 9,000 screaming fans at University Hall.
State, now 3-4 in the ACC and 11-5 overall after its fourth straight conference loss, had tied the game at 47 on Clyde Austin's 22-foot shot from the right side with 51 seconds to play.
"Everyone knew who was going to take the shot for them," said state's Sidney Lowe. "He just made a tough shot."
After Austin's shot, Virginia (5-2 in the ACC and 16-3 overall) called a timeout. The Cavaliers played keep away until the clock showed 13 seconds, then called another timeout.
Lamp, who led all scorers with 24 points, ran around two screens before getting the ball at the free throw line. His defender, Art Jones, had his hands in Lamp's face, but the Cavaliers' money man double pumped and twisted his body to get the ball over Jones and two other State defenders. The shot his nothing but net.
"I was trying to make sure I used the pick well, to get myself open," Lamp said. "Terry Gates and Lee Raker came out and set a very good pick for me. Jones made me hang and take a shot I really want to take."
State, which had outplayed Virginia the second half, still had a last shot at winning. Hawkeye Whitney, who was held to 12 points, made a fine leaping grab of a long pass in the State front court and called time with three seconds left.
"He (Whitney) didn't enjoy a fine game statistically but he made a great play to get us in position to get off a shot," said State Coach Norm Sloan. p"We wanted either Austin (14 points) or Whitney to take the last shot."
Austin, whose 10 points helped the Wolfpack rally from a 34-28 halftime deficit, was too far out so Lowe passed to Whitney in the corner. The senior's high, arching shot clanged off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Basketballs had bounced off the rims all day for both teams. State made only 22 of 52 shots while Virginia was even worse, sinking only 16 of 42. But the Wahoos took advantage of State's overaggressiveness and made 17 of 22 free throws.
Virginia also could thank its lucky stars for winning on a day when 7-foot-4 Ralph Sampson was not a major factor in the game. He had only one of his eight points and two rebounds in the last 27 minutes. The starting forwards, Lee Raker and Mike Owens, scored just six and two points, respectively.
Sampson, who has been slowed by a bad ankle, left the game briefly in the second half.
Using a tight, sagging zone designed to stop Whitney inside, Virginia almost begged the Wolfpack guards to shoot from the perimeter.
"Well, the last couple of games we haven't been hitting from out there so they gave us the shots," said guard Kenny Matthews, who hit on only three of nine tries.
Matthews did sink two from the 20-foot range early in the second half just when Virginia was trying to break away.
Austin then began to work his magic. The Lithe scored 10 of his team's final 14 points.
His steal and dunk narrowed Virginia's lead to 42-39, with 7:19 left. Both teams played cautiously the rest of the way before Austin's 20-footer tied the game at 45 with 2:37 to play.
Lamp's two free throws regained the lead for the Cavs with 2:25 to play and State went to its spread offense hoping to catch the Cavs sleeping. Virginia stayed awake, however, and played excellent defense Austin let fly with his tying basket.
Virginia Coach Terry Holland, whose team takes on Ohio State today at Columbus in a nationally televised game, was not pleased with the Cavalier shooting, but praised the defensive effort, especially that of the second half.
"We wanted them to take the shots from the perimeter, particualrly when we were in the zone." he said.
"But I think the biggest part was our ability to score at the other end of the floor."