College Basketball Roundup: NC State drops 6th game in last 7, loses at home to Virginia

UNCG improves to 8-2 in conference play; Elon, WCU lose

Virginia's Sam Hauser shoots over NC State's Dereon Seabron defends during the Cavaliers' win Wednesday in Raleigh. (Ethan Hyman / The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH — Sam Hauser and Trey Murphy III each scored 18 points and No. 14 Virginia produced a strong finishing stretch to beat NC State 64-57 on Wednesday night.

Jay Huff added 12 points for the Cavaliers (12-3, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had their 15-game ACC winning streak stretching to last season halted Saturday night at then-No. 20 Virginia Tech.

“I think we learned from that game. We were kind of in the same position,” Hauser said. “They had their run. Instead of folding and giving in, we responded with our own run.”

Jericole Hellems poured in 23 points before fouling out for NC State (7-7, 3-6), which won just one game in January.

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Virginia coach Tony Bennett questioned his team’s toughness after the weekend setback. They Cavaliers heard that.

“I just took it personally,” Murphy said. “(I told myself) I’m going to make sure I don’t give him a reason to call me soft. We just knew we had to come out and really fight this game.”

Virginia players were intent on being more aggressive.

“You never want your coach to call you soft,” Hauser said. “We’re still getting better in that area and that showed tonight.”

Hellems’ jumper gave the Wolfpack a 46-45 lead with less than 6 1/2 minutes remaining as Virginia endured an eight-minute span without a field goal.

Hauser hit a 3-pointer to break the drought, allowing the Cavaliers to build a 50-46 edge with 5:38 to play. Huff converted a three-point play to stretch the lead to 55-48.

“I was proud of these guys for their fight,” NC State coach Kevin Keatts said. “I think this team has learned a lot about themselves these last couple games.”

Hauser scored 11 points in the first 10 minutes, pushing Virginia to a 19-13 advantage.

Five minutes later, Hellems reached the 14-point mark and the Wolfpack led 22-19, aided by the Cavaliers’ 6 1/2-minute scoring drought. Virginia scored the next nine points and led 28-24 at the break.

Virginia won its seventh straight road game in the series.

Hellems, a junior swingman, has put up career-high point totals in consecutive games since the Wolfpack lost scoring leader Devon Daniels to a season-ending knee injury last week.

“He’s getting what he’s earned,” teammate Braxton Beverly said of Hellems. “I couldn’t be any more proud of him for what he’s doing, the way he’s stepping up. He’s been a huge lift for us.”

The Wolfpack play at Boston College on Saturday.

UNC Greensboro 85, The Citadel 66

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Kaleb Hunter had a season-high 22 points as UNC Greensboro won its seventh consecutive game, getting past The Citadel 85-66 on Wednesday night.

Hunter made 10 of 13 shots. Isaiah Miller had 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for UNC Greensboro (13-5, 8-2 Southern Conference). A.J. McGinnis added 14 points. Keyshaun Langley had 10 points.

Hayden Brown had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs (9-7, 2-7). Kaiden Rice added 13 points and seven rebounds. Fletcher Abee had 11 points.

The Spartans improve to 2-0 against the Bulldogs this season. UNC Greensboro defeated The Citadel 87-73 on Jan. 18.

James Madison 78, Elon 57

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Terell Strickland posted 15 points as James Madison rolled past Elon 78-57 on Wednesday.

Matt Lewis had 14 points for James Madison (10-5, 5-1 Colonial Athletic Association), which earned its fourth consecutive win. Jalen Hodge added 13 points and Zach Jacobs had 11. Vado Morse, whose 14 points per game heading into the contest was second on the Dukes, was held to only four points.

Hunter McIntosh had 19 points for the Phoenix (3-6, 0-5), whose losing streak stretched to six games. Darius Burford added 11 points and Hunter Woods had 10 rebounds.

Chattanooga 74, Western Carolina 67

CULLOWHEE — Malachi Smith had 22 points as Chattanooga defeated Western Carolina 74-67 on Wednesday night.

Darius Banks and David Jean-Baptiste added 18 points apiece for Chattanooga (13-5, 4-5 Southern Conference). KC Hankton had 11 points.

Xavier Cork had 18 points for the Catamounts (8-10, 1-8). Mason Faulkner added 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Matt Halvorsen had 12 points.