RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sure, No. 18 Virginia was glad to win a game for the first time in nearly three weeks.
But Saturday's 70-55 victory at North Carolina State was more about something simpler: rebuilding confidence and rhythm by making shots.
"We talked about just keep playing the defense to keep you in there," coach Tony Bennett said, "and sooner or later -- hopefully -- we'll knock down some shots, get some different kind of looks. That's what we've been talking about in all these games."
Freshman Kyle Guy scored 19 points for the Cavaliers (19-9, 9-7 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 49 percent and made 11 of 16 3-pointers to snap a four-game losing skid lowlighted by three particularly ugly offensive performances.
Virginia is built around defense and efficient offense, a style that grinds down opponents in slow-paced and often low-scoring games. But in the recent skid, Virginia just flat couldn't shoot and failed to crack even 56 points in the past three games.
That's why doing something as routine as knocking down a midrange jumper was a big deal Saturday.
Bennett said the team took a day off, then spent much of the ensuing practice days with a heavy emphasis on shooting and fundamentals.
It also helped that the Cavaliers were playing the Wolfpack (15-15, 4-13), whose defense is far and away the worst in the league according to KenPom's adjusted efficiency stats (108.1 points per 100 possessions).
Guy got things started with 14 points and four first-half 3s.
"I think he singlehandedly kind of got our rhythm back for us, for us shooting the ball," junior Isaiah Wilkins said. "After he got hot, a couple of other guys got hot and we felt like were back to normal."
It was Virginia's longest losing streak since dropping nine straight during Bennett's first season in 2009-10. But the Cavaliers led 35-21 by halftime, pushed that to 19 early after halftime and led by double figures nearly the entire second half.
N.C. State shot 32 percent in the final regular-season home game for coach Mark Gottfried. The school announced earlier this month that he won't return next year after a once-promising season completely unraveled.
"Our fans have been great," Gottfried said. "It has been amazing. Everywhere in town I go, it has been great. People are so positive and appreciative and all of that. I just hope we can somehow do some more positive things (in the ACC Tournament)."