N.C. State didn't win many games in the regular season with its defense.
The Wolfpack won its first postseason game on Thursday with a strong defensive effort against the nation's leading scorer.
Fifth-seeded N.C. State held Virginia Tech's Erick Green, the ACC player of the year, to 15 points on 5-of-19 shooting to take an 80-63 win in the first round of the ACC tournament on Thursday in Greensboro.
Forward Richard Howell led N.C. State with 22 points and 12 rebounds but it was Lorenzo Brown's defense on Green which stood out.
Green finished with 15 points, 10 below his season average, as the Pack moved onto Friday's quarterfinal matchup with fourth-seeded Virginia.
The Wolfpack (23-9) used a late 10-2 run in the first half to take a 38-32 halftime lead over the last-place Hokies (13-19).
Brown held Green to more turnovers (four) than field goals (three) in the first half. Green had nine points in the first half.
Brown finished with nine points and 12 assists.
After back-to-back baskets by Jarell Eddie (21 points), Virginia Tech took a 25-24 lead at 7:17 mark in the first half.
N.C. State responded with a 10-2 run, which featured six points by T.J. Warren and consecutive dunks from Warren, on an alley-oop from Brown, and C.J. Leslie (15 points).
N.C. State beat Virginia Tech 90-86 at home on Feb. 16. Green scored 29 points and had eight assists in that game but was slow to get started on Thursday.
Virginia Tech, which is one of the worst defensive teams in the country, kept the Wolfpack from getting out in transition until the late run.
The Wolfpack took control in the second half with a 9-0 run, started by a 3-pointer by Warren (13 points) and finished off by Howell, who was set up on the break by Brown.
N.C. State and Virginia will play at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. The Cavaliers won the only meeting of the season, 58-55 on Jan. 29 in Charlottesville, Va.
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