Harris lead Virginia past No. 19 Wolfpack, 58-55

Harris lead Virginia past No. 19 Wolfpack, 58-55

Mark Gottfried acknowledged that North Carolina State's latest victory was a considerable step in his program's resurgence. To take another big stride, Gottfried's team will likely need to start winning consistently away from home.

In their next attempt to improve on the road, the 19th-ranked Wolfpack, the ACC's top scoring team, will try to get past the league's stingiest one, Virginia, on Tuesday night.

North Carolina State owns two NCAA titles and a combined 17 ACC regular-season and tournament championships. The Wolfpack, though, haven't won the league tournament since 1987 and last finished atop the conference standings in 1988-89.

Until Gottfried arrived last season, the program experienced a number of lackluster finishes in recent seasons, but the new coach got its fortunes heading quickly in the right direction by ending a six-year NCAA tournament drought last year.

NC State appeared to gain another meaningful bit of progress Saturday by ending a 13-game skid to rival North Carolina. Lorenzo Brown had 20 points and 11 assists in that 91-83 win, and freshman T.J. Warren contributed 19 points off the bench.

"It's a significant win for us," Gottfried said. "To get where you want to be as a program, you have to take certain steps to get there. This was a big one for us."

The Wolfpack (16-4, 5-2), who are undefeated at home, are also trying to get back on top of the conference but trail Miami by 1 1/2 games. Their two losses have come in each of their last two league road contests, and they might have a challenge in their next visit in trying to overcome a clash of styles.

Virginia's attempt to slow opponents down has worked well so far, evident by the 51.1 points per game its allowed on 36.8 percent shooting. The Cavaliers (14-5, 4-2) have held two of their past seven opponents under 40 points, including a 56-36 home win over Florida State on Jan. 19.

"They're very good at what they do, and we feel that we're pretty good at what we do too. We really like to get out and run," Gottfried said.

The Cavaliers have used their defense to overcome the league's least prolific offense (62.8 ppg). The Wolfpack, meanwhile, are averaging a league-best 79.8 points on 50.9 percent shooting but rank 11th in points allowed per game at 70.2.

"They've got experience. They know how to score," Virginia junior forward and North Carolina native Akil Mitchell told the school's website. "We've got to tighten down and be ready for a good one Tuesday. I'm excited about the competition."

The Cavaliers won their third straight and 11th in a row at home Saturday, 65-51 over Boston College, by limiting the Eagles to 36.2 percent shooting. Virginia converted at a 56.3 percent clip at its end, but Mitchell and Justin Anderson were the only two players in double figures with 16 points apiece.

Leading scorer Joe Harris (14.8 ppg) was held to seven points, ending a string of eight consecutive games in double figures.

Harris is one of the top 3-point shooters in the ACC at 46.7 percent but was 1 of 4 on Saturday. He's 8 for 16 from beyond the arc in three games against NC State and has averaged 16.3 points.

NC State snapped a four-game skid to Virginia with a 67-64 win in last season's conference tournament. The Wolfpack shot 54.0 percent in that game after being held under 41.0 in each matchup during the skid, and C.J. Leslie led the way with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

They've averaged 56.8 points on 40.4 percent shooting in four consecutive losses at Virginia.

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Otto Porter probable for Monday's game against the Hawks

Otto Porter probable for Monday's game against the Hawks

ATLANTA -- Otto Porter took part in the Wizards' practice Sunday before Game 4 of their first-round series with the Atlanta Hawks and will be probable for Monday's game.

"Right now he's feeling great," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "It's good news."

Porter injured his neck and left shoulder in the second half of Game 3 and didn't return in the 116-98 loss. He ran into a defender on a screen.

The Wizards went through a 90-minute practice on the campus of Georgia Tech.

"I was able to get most of the feeling back in my arm," Porter said. "Got a lot of shots up."

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Wilson owns up to Game 5 benching, discusses run-in with Kadri

Wilson owns up to Game 5 benching, discusses run-in with Kadri

TORONTO—Tom Wilson says he understands why he was benched in Game 5 and added that he intends to avoid putting himself (and his team) in that position again.

Wilson did not see the ice after being assessed a fourth minor penalty in the Capitals’ 2-1 overtime victory on Friday night.

“It’s unacceptable to take two penalties in a playoff game and, obviously, two coincidentals to add onto that,” Wilson said after Sunday’s morning skate. “I don’t want to be in the box. I can’t be in the box.”

Wilson, who was the Caps’ hero in Games 1 and 4, is tied for the playoff lead in minor penalties with six. (The Rangers' Mats Zuccarello has also been assessed six minors).    

“I’m part of the penalty kill unit and I need to be on the ice,” Wilson said. “At the end of the day, I’m not trying to take penalties, I’m trying to battle. …Barry [Trotz] doesn’t want to leave it up to chance. There’s no room for that. So you don’t play.”

Wilson’s third penalty Friday night came after Matt Niskanen slashed Nazem Kadri, who earlier in the game had laid a controversial hit on Alex Ovechkin. Wilson said he didn’t like Kadri's low hit on the Caps' captain or the way Kadri reacted to slash.

“I don’t think anyone around the league would say that they like the hit as a player,” Wilson said. “You have a chance to go straight up on someone and you bend down and go for the leg, you learn from a pretty young age not to do that.”

Wilson added: “It’s just one of those things, and then he kinda jumps in the air [after the slash]. I was just giving him a hard time and ended up getting a matching minor with him. But that’s part of hockey—it’s emotional. I wouldn’t say I was too charged up. It’s just part of my game and I ended up going to the box a little too much.”

Wilson also said he’d love to eliminate his hometown team in their own rink. The Caps lead the series 3-games-to-2 and can do exactly that with a win Sunday.

“It would be awesome,” he said. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it; it would be fun to win it here.”