CHARLOTTESVILLE, JAN. 29 -- The Virginia Cavaliers administered North Carolina State's worst beating in 24 years tonight, and their most lopsided victory in this matchup, crushing the Wolfpack, 104-72, before 8,864 at University Hall.
No. 15 Virginia won its fourth straight to improve to 15-4, 4-2 ACC. N.C. State (10-6, 3-3) endured its worst loss since falling 87-50 to North Carolina in 1967 -- 681 games ago. This was the Cavaliers' largest margin of victory over the Wolfpack in the 97-game series that began in 1913.
"Virginia took us to school in the second half on both ends of the court," said N.C. State first-year coach Les Robinson. "They're a veteran team and it shows out there. Last year, I thought they were a team of overachievers who went farther than people thought they would." Coach Jeff Jones "has taken them to another level."
Robinson didn't use his team's lack of depth as an excuse for Virginia's second-half surge, citing the Wolfpack's home victories over Clemson, Duke and Georgia Tech. But N.C. State looked winded after the intermission, so much so that Robinson inserted seldom-used forward Anthony Robinson, who entered still wearing his warm-up jacket.
"We're a nine at home and a four on the road," Les Robinson said after the sixth loss in seven road games.
The game promised perhaps the ACC's finest guard duel, with N.C. State's Chris Corchiani and Rodney Monroe pitted against John Crotty and Bryant Stith. But it was forwards Tom Gugliotta of N.C. State and Kenny Turner of Virginia who provided the most heated confrontation, combining for 48 points, 16 rebounds and 6 three-pointers.
"Gugliotta's the most underrated player in the conference," said Turner, who hit a 15-footer late in the first half to join Stith and Crotty on Virginia's 1,000-point career-scoring list. "We played him just like Monroe. He's that type of player."
Turner made 11 of 14 shots and finished with 24 points. Stith had 22, Crotty added 21 and tied his career high of 14 assists. Gugliotta led N.C. State with 24. Monroe had 22, Bryant Feggins 16. Crotty won his battle with Corchiani, who made just two of 10 shots and was held scoreless until a layup with nine minutes left brought the Wolfpack to 70-58. "I always say it's not a personal matchup," said Crotty. "I try not to focus on it, but it's definitely a game within a game."
"I wish they could all be like that," said Jones, whose team faces Wake Forest -- coached by fellow former Virginia assistant Dave Odom -- here Saturday.
Cornel Parker, in his third start since Virginia shooting guard and leading defender Anthony Oliver went out with a broken hand, drew the daunting task of guarding Monroe. He forced the ACC's leading scorer (28.9 coming in) into three air balls while holding him scoreless for the last eight minutes.
"He really is the best two guard in the nation," said Parker, who finished with 10 points and three assists. "When he has the ball, you don't know when he's going to shoot it. I was pretty proud of myself."
Neither team led by more than four until Matt Blundin scored off a feed inside from Crotty to put Virginia ahead, 22-16. The Cavaliers extended the lead to 10 four times in the first half, but were answered by 6-foot-9 Gugliotta, who had 17 first-half points, including three three-pointers.