NC State delivered 40 full minutes of basketball feeding off the energy of the rowdy RBC crowd and an elevated defensive intensity that included a rare full court press to keep seventh-ranked Duke at arms length and finish with a resounding 88-74 upset.
While much praise will deservedly be directed on Tracy Smith’s and Dennis Horner’s fantastic performances; please do not underestimate the importance of Farnold Degand’s decision making and offensive production in the first half followed by Javi Gonzalez and Scott Wood’s contributions in the backcourt in the second half.
For the night, Smith was 10 of 11 from the field for 23 points and 5 rebounds. Horner hit clutch shots in the second half finishing with 20 on the night on 8 of 15 shooting from the field and 3 of 5 from the free throw line.
State was able to keep the Blue Devils at bay by converting 73% from the free throw line, shooting 19 of 26. Despite Duke playing from behind and having to intentionally foul State late in the game, it will surprise nobody who watches basketball that the Blue Devils still attempted seven MORE free throws than the Wolfpack despite State’s home court advantage (shooting 25 of 33).
Tonight’s victory was the Wolfpack’s second over a team ranked in the Top 25 after knocking off Florida State last week. State lost to Top 15 Clemson by only three points this weekend.
The confidence and credibility created by tonight’s win will serve the Wolfpack well in the ACC schedule, especially with the UNC-CH Tarheels coming to Raleigh next Tuesday night.
NC State Basketball Coach, Sidney Lowe turns 50 years old tomorrow and the Wolfpack’s Tracy Smith celebrated a birthday TODAY.