NC STATE BASKETBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
N.C. State knocks off No. 1 Duke 84-76
It’s one thing to be picked ahead of Duke or North Carolina in the preseason, it’s another for N.C. State to beat its neighbors in blue.
Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie helped No. 20 N.C. State knock off No. 1 Duke 84-76 on Saturday at PNC Arena.
N.C. State, the preseason ACC favorite, had lost 21 of 25 games to Duke since 2000, including last year’s 78-73 game in Durham which saw Duke erase a 20-point N.C. State lead in the second half.
With a sellout crowd and throwback atmosphere to the 1980s, N.C. State rose to the challenge, or “opportunity” as coach Mark Gottfried called it on Friday.
The ACC standings now look like the 1980s, too, after the State win. The Pack is 3-0 in the ACC for the first time since the 1988-89 season â€” the last time State won a regular-season conference title.
Robbi Pickeral (ESPN.com)
Rapid Reaction: NC State 84, Duke 76
Welcome back to the national spotlight, NC State.
The 20th-ranked Wolfpack on Saturday reminded everyone why it began the season in the Top 10, and was picked during the preseason to win the ACC, by handing top-ranked Duke its first loss of the season, at PNC Arena.
The 84-76 final had the NC State crowd rushing the court.
Turning point: NC State was trailing 27-19 with about eight minutes left in the first half when senior Scott Wood made a 3-pointer and was fouled by Duke guard Tyler Thornton. Wood appeared to offer up a little trash talk; Thornton countered with an elbow, and an official whistled each for a technical. With a re-revved crowd also re-revving the Wolfpack, Wood hit the free throw to complete the four-point play and jump-start a 15-4 run that gave State a 33-29 lead. The Wolfpack led 41-39 at halftime.
Over its previous six games, Duke had opened the second half with big runs. But this time, it was State that came out the aggressor, using an 8-2 run (including six points from Richard Howell) to build an eight point lead. The Blue Devils, as you would expect, cut it back, getting to within 58-57 on back-to-back Seth Curry 3-pointers with about 10 minutes left. Curry hit another 3, with 3:41 left, to cut Stateâ€™s advantage to 71-67. But Duke got no closer.
AARON BEARD, AP Basketball Writer
No. 20 NC State upsets No. 1 Duke 84-76
C.J. Leslie scored 25 points, including six straight during a key second-half run, to help No. 20 North Carolina State beat No. 1 Duke 84-76 on Saturday.
Richard Howell added 16 points and 18 rebounds in a relentless performance for the Wolfpack (14-2, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) in a match-up of the teams predicted to finish 1-2 in the league.
N.C. State was picked for the first time in nearly four decades to win the league, though two early losses drained some buzz.
No longer. Now N.C. State is back on everyone’s radar, while the Blue Devils (15-1, 2-1) are no longer unbeaten.
Seth Curry scored 22 for Duke, which shot 45 percent and hung around early by crashing the boards for second-chance baskets. But the Blue Devils had no answer after halftime for Leslie and Howell, a duo that helped the Wolfpack lead all second half.
Fittingly, Howell hauled in the rebound on Duke’s final shot to end this one, then passed the ball to Lorenzo Brown as Leslie began jumping around near midcourt to celebrate. As the horn sounded, Brown flung the ball high into the air while red-clad students and Wolfpack fans stormed to the court to celebrate.
This was the kind of moment N.C. State fans â€” long hungry to challenge perennial heavyweights Duke and North Carolina atop the league â€” have been hoping for all season. Their team certainly rose to the occasion, whether it was Leslie performing to his status as the preseason ACC player of the year or Howell attacking the boards and scoring on second-half putbacks that fully seized momentum for N.C. State.
NC State forward C.J. Leslie, who led all scorers with 25 points, talks about his team’s 84-76 upset of No. 1 Duke on Saturday.
C.J. Leslie scored 25 points to lead No. 20 North Carolina State past No. 1 Duke 86-74.
Dick Vitale and Dan Shulman discuss how No. 20 NC State defeated No. 1 Duke.
Luke DeCock (N&O)
For Howell, celebration worth the wait
From where he stood, surrounded on the court by jubilant students, Richard Howell could almost see four years into the past. He came to N.C. State in anticipation of moments like this. If it took almost his entire career to get to this point, he wasnâ€™t complaining.
â€œI definitely wanted to be a part of this — this rivalry, mix it up a bit,â€ the senior forward said. â€œIt definitely took time to get here but patience pays off. Itâ€™s definitely working now. It was crazy. My ears were about to pop out.â€
Howell ranked Saturdayâ€™s 84-76 win over No. 1 and previously undefeated Duke ahead of last springâ€™s NCAA run because of the raucous home-court atmosphere, and as the fans hoisted Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie on their shoulders in a moment of pure joy it was hard to argue. It was pandemonium as the students danced on the floor, one even knocked from his wheelchair only to be rescued by Leslie amid the chaos.
Those same fans will be criticized for storming the court at all, that a top-25 team picked to win its conference should expect to win like this. Many of those fans would rightly argue that theyâ€™ve waited even longer than Howell for an excuse to celebrate, and handing a Triangle rival its first loss helps make up for the hours and hours of bad basketball theyâ€™ve been subjected to in recent years.
Or maybe they earned the right to rush, given their contribution to the environment. This was one of the most hotly anticipated matchups of the ACC season, certainly the first of them on the schedule, and PNC Arena was suitably electric. With students lined up outside before sunrise and celebrities (Scotty McCreery), political heavyweights (Robert Gibbs) and superstar athletes (Mario Williams) in the building, it felt like a title fight — minus the fur coats.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Wolfpack refuses to take â€˜noâ€™ for an answer in validating upset of top-ranked Duke
Some teams want to win. Others expect to win. The really good teams, however, donâ€™t leave it up to hope, faith or any other emotion. They simply go out onto the court and refuse to take no for an answer.
Saturday at PNC Arena, N.C. Stateâ€™s long-suffering basketball team finally raised its game to that desired level.
The Wolfpack answered every challenge, made every big shot and for a change didnâ€™t wilt under the pressure in scoring an 84-76 upset of top-ranked Duke.
Richard Howell didn’t get every rebound for the Wolfpack, but he did get 18 — including this one on Josh Hairston
It was a victory that accomplished a great deal more than just sending a large portion of the sellout crowd onto the court in celebration and validating, at least for now, Stateâ€™s standing as the preseason team to beat in the ACC. It also marked yet another major milestone in transformation of Stateâ€™s resurgent program under second-year coach Mark Gottfried.
â€œIf you want to be the best, you have to beat the best,â€ senior forward Scott Wood said after the game, and the joyous crush of humanity that followed. â€œThatâ€™s the bottom line.â€
Saturdayâ€™s win was the Wolfpackâ€™s first under Gottfried against either the Blue Devils or North Carolina. It was only the second overall against either neighboring rival in the last eight years.
Stephen Schramm and Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
ACC men’s basketball preseason favorites besides Duke and UNC over past 30 years
No. 20 N.C. State, an ACC preseason favorite for the first time since 1974-75, plays host to top-ranked Duke at noon Saturday. In the past three decades, since Mike Krzyzewski was entering his third season with the Blue Devils, only four other teams not wearing the blue of Duke or North Carolina were predicted to win the league. Observer writers Stephen Schramm and Bret Strelow take a look at why they were picked and how they handled the pressure.
WHY ALL THE HYPE? After going 29-4 and winning an outright ACC regular-season title in 1980-81, coach Terry Holland’s Cavaliers shared the title with North Carolina during a 30-win season in 1981-82. National player of the year Ralph Sampson, first-team all-ACC guard Othell Wilson, two starting forwards and the top three reserves returned from a team that was upset by UAB in the Sweet 16, and Virginia was voted the preseason favorite over the reigning national champion Tar Heels.
North Carolina had lost James Worthy and Jimmy Black from that group but brought back Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins and Matt Doherty. The only starter the Cavaliers had lost, Jeff Jones, was replaced by Maine transfer Rick Carlisle, who had caught the eye of Virginia assistant Jim Larranaga.
DID THEY LIVE UP TO IT? Not quite. Virginia opened the season ranked No. 1, two spots ahead of UNC, and famously lost 77-72 at Chaminade the day before Christmas.
The Cavaliers were 2-0 in the ACC when they lost 101-95 at home against No. 11 UNC, which held the No. 1 ranking and a 7-0 league record when it faced the Cavs again in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels trailed by 16 points in the second half and were down 63-62 when Jordan stole the ball from Carlisle in the final minute and raced away for a go-ahead dunk.
UNC dropped its next three games, losing to Villanova before falling on the road against ACC rivals Maryland and N.C. State. The Tar Heels went 12-2 to share the regular-season title with Virginia, which settled for the No. 2 seed because of UNC’s head-to-head sweep, and lost 81-78 to N.C. State in the ACC tournament final.
The Wolfpack needed to win that game to reach the NCAA tournament, and it edged the Cavaliers 63-62 in the Sweet 16 during a dramatic run to the national championship.
WHY ALL THE HYPE? When Gary Williams took the job at Maryland in 1989, the slumping Terrapins faced NCAA sanctions and a long road back. That resurgence began with an 18-win campaign in 1993-94 and picked up more steam the following year. Led by sophomore forward Joe Smith, who would go on to win ACC Player of the Year, Maryland went 26-8 in the 1994-95 season, finishing in a four-way tie for first in the league and reaching the Sweet 16.
Smith jumped to the pros, but heading into the next season, there was still plenty of talent left. Senior guard Johnny Rhodes and junior forward Keith Booth were expected to be two of the best in the conference. Seniors Duane Simpkins, Mario Lucas and Exree Hipp rounded out a nucleus of upperclassmen.
And with North Carolina facing heavy turnover and Duke still digging out of its Pete Gaudet phase, picking the Terrapins to win the league wasn’t too much of a stretch.
DID THEY LIVE UP TO IT? No. It made sense that a perennial also-ran would finally break through that season. The voters in the preseason poll just picked the wrong one.
Georgia Tech took full advantage of the opportunity, winning the regular-season title behind freshman guard Stephon Marbury, sophomore forward Matt Harpring and senior sharpshooter Drew Barry.
ACC Player of the Year Tim Duncan helped lift Wake Forest to the tournament title.
Maryland started 0-3 in league play and never really recovered, ending up tied for fourth and losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Stephen Schramm (FayObserver.com)
Player of the game for N.C. State and Duke: Richard Howell
During the second half of Saturdayâ€™s game against top-ranked Duke, N.C. State forward Richard Howell was grabbing so many rebounds that he started to make his teammates look bad.
In one huddle, Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried asked his team if anyone other than the 6-foot-8 senior was going to grab a rebound. Howell said not to worry. He was going to get them all.
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
Richard Howell: ‘My Ears Were About To Pop Out.’
The atmosphere at PNC Arena has all too often been lacking at basketball games over the years. Part of that is simply the nature of the building, and the other part is that NC State simply hasn’t been very good. On the occasions where the stakes are high, though, and the team delivers a good performance, the place can get as loud as any arena in the country. Richard Howell and the rest of the team got to experience that today:
“I definitely wanted to be a part of this — this rivalry, mix it up a bit,” the senior forward said. “It definitely took time to get here but patience pays off. Itâ€™s definitely working now. It was crazy. My ears were about to pop out.”
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
NC State Hands Duke Its First Loss
So that was fun, huh? NC State showed today why it can be one of the country’s best teams, particularly in the second half. One key to State’s ability to find some separation over the final 20 minutes was the defensive glass. Duke grabbed more offensive boards than the Pack had offensive rebounds in the first half, but in the second, the Blue Devils were limited to just two of 17 potential offensive rebounds. Richard Howell was huge in that respect, as he often is–the dude had 10 defensive rebounds in the second half alone.
Getting the rebounding under control was crucial, and NC State also finished the afternoon having made more than half of its twos, which is an impressive accomplishment against this defense. And the Pack made 20 of 23 free throw attempts. Sometimes it just all comes together.
Gary Parrish (CBS Sports)
NC State tops No. 1 Duke, then celebrates with thousands
The North Carolina State fans started maneuvering their way down the stairs and as close to the baselines as they could possibly get with a little under a minute left on the clock. It was 1:56 p.m. local time — or about 12 hours after some students first lined up outside PNC Arena in hopes of getting the very best seats they could in anticipation of what projected as a memorable Saturday for their school.
The top-ranked and undefeated Duke Blue Devils were down.
All signs suggested they’d stay there.
So thousands of able-bodied students — and even one fearless dude in a wheelchair — got as ready as you can get for an obviously planned but still unorganized court-storming that was certain to take out a couple of tables, and then they just … waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited.
There were still four fouls that had to be committed and eight free throws to be made because Duke had no interest in conceding its perfect record. Consequently, it actually took more than five minutes to play the final minute of what became an 84-76 victory for the Wolfpack, and it was in those five minutes that it became crystal clear just how much this day meant to these fans.
I closed my computer and looked around a lot.
I saw old men chanting and young women crying, and if you think that’s silly given this was just a regular-season game against a team missing a key player then you don’t understand this program and its fans or the dynamics of The Triangle. It had been nearly nine years since NC State last topped a rival ranked No. 1 in this building — and that rival was also Duke. The date was Feb. 15, 2004. Julius Hodge scored 18 points in that 78-74 victory, then announced to the world he wanted his teammates to stay hungry because, as Hodge colorfully put it, “when we hungry, we eat.”
Folks here still talk about that moment.
Man, what a great moment.
But since that moment things have mostly been bad.
And then those fans just … waited.
The whole thing felt kind of weird, waiting a good five minutes for the final minute to tick off the clock. I mean, who waits like that to run onto a court and celebrate? But as the fans waited and I watched and some inconsequential free throws were made, I realized this wasn’t a five-minute wait as much as it was a wait that had lasted nearly a decade, and what’s an extra five minutes when you’ve been waiting that long to enjoy a moment like this?
“I saw the whole court and then I couldn’t see a bit of court,” Leslie said, a big smile on his face. “It was just people everywhere.”
Andrew Jones (FoxSportsCarolinas.com)
Wolfpack show they belong with ACC elite
As Scott Wood approached the free-throw line with 28.8 seconds left and North Carolina State leading top-ranked Duke, Lorenzo Brown finally allowed himself to crack a smile.
It was the first real show of emotion from the Wolfpack point guard, and other than some chippiness by Wood earlier in the game and a flash or two by freshman Rodney Purvis, it was the first true sign of excitement and joy from NC State all afternoon.
And it made sense.
Suddenly darting through Brown’s mind was the realization that the Wolfpack could beat the Blue Devils, that maybe, just maybe, Brown and his teammates are also that good.
Oh, and the growing swarm of students near the baseline.
“I saw the fans getting ready to rush the court, and I was looking and said, â€˜Oh my God, it’s about to get crazy in here,'” said Brown about the grin before the conclusion of NCSU’s 84-76 victory before the frenzied home faithful. “And I just started to smile. I didn’t want to smile, but I just had to let it go.”
The fans haven’t had many reasons to rush the court in Raleigh over the last 20 years. Once a program of national relevance that captured national titles in 1974 and 1983 and gave the ACC one of its greatest players of all-time (David Thompson), Wolfpack basketball hasn’t registered on the radar for some time.
The program largely floundered after Jim Valvano stepped down in 1990, but NC State basketball is back, at least, in 2013, as the Wolfpack improved to 14-2 overall, and 3-0 in the ACC for the first time since 1989.
Gottfried: Our guys showed mental toughness
North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried said his team showed a lot of mental toughness in the win over Duke.
Howell: We’re not satisfied
NC State’s Richard Howell said the team isn’t satisfied with this win they want to keep going out there and winning games.
Leslie: This is a great win for us
NC State’s CJ Leslie said by no means are they going to say this is a light win for them even though it is a great win.
Brown: We’re going down in history
NC State guard Lorenzo Brown said their team is going down in history as the team that beat Duke.
Krzyzewski: They’re really good
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said the NC State team is a really good basketball team.
Plumlee: It was good, it wasn’t good enough
Duke’s Mason Plumlee said they played good but it wasn’t good enough.
Jefferson: I wasn’t satisfied
Duke’s Amile Jefferson said he wasn’t satisfied with how he played Saturday.
Hairston: We didn’t play terrible
Duke’s Josh Hairston said the team didn’t play a terrible game against NC State.
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Packâ€™s Howell turns into beast against Duke
Howell finished the first half with six points and four rebounds. He was met in the locker room by Gottfried holding the box score.
“We went over the rebounding statistics and it definitely infuriated me,” Howell said. “(Coach) said they were trying to out-tough us.”
Howell responded early and often in the second half. He scored the first two baskets of the second half, both on putbacks after offensive rebounds, and had eight points in the first five minutes.
Gottfried said after the game that Howell played a “grown manâ€™s game” and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called him a “beast.” Krzyzewski spoke at length about Howellâ€™s game.
“Heâ€™s one of the most unique players in the country,” Krzyzewski said. “Heâ€™s a kid that every team would want and start and would be so easy to play with.
“He doesnâ€™t need the ball long, he plays with amazing maturity and he rebounds the heck out of the ball.”
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Wolfpack evolve into a grown-man’s team
Rugged forward Richard Howell, he of the 6-foot-8, 257-pound frame, had spent the entire second half proving he was the toughest, baddest dude on the court. But even he was frightened.
Moments after 20th-ranked N.C. State wrapped up an 84-76 win over top-ranked Duke, the PNC Arena floor was flooded with fans. One of the first few to reach the midcourt logo was Will Privette, seated in a wheelchair and pushed across the court so quickly that he kept pace with the sprinting students. Amid the chaos, Privette, now affectionately known as the wheelchair court stormer, was on the floor after being knocked out of his seat.
“When I saw the kid fall out of the wheelchair, that’s when I got scared and wanted to get out,” Howell said.
To the rescue came teammate C.J. Leslie, who picked up Privette and made sure he was out of harm’s way.
Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried used the term “grown-man’s game” to describe Howell’s 16-point, 18-rebound effort Saturday. With his sidekick, Leslie, dominating to the tune of 25 points and pulling off superhero feats, N.C. State looked every bit like a grown-man’s team.
Picked as the ACC favorite by media members and coaches alike during the preseason, the Wolfpack took another important step by defeating the previously unbeaten Blue Devils in a first-place showdown so compelling that “American Idol” winner/N.C. State freshman Scotty McCreery tossed insults at Duke players from his front-row seat.
The Blue Devils were competing for the first time this season without senior forward Ryan Kelly, the team’s top scorer through two ACC games, but that shouldn’t take away from what N.C. State accomplished in front of a sellout crowd and national television audience.
“I’ve never wanted a game so much in my life,” Howell said. “You always get geeked against the No. 1 team, especially coming into your home. They already have the swagger and want you to think they can beat you. We just wanted to come out and play hard.”
Jeniece Jamison (PackPride.com)
Gottfried: “I’m Proud Of Our Team”
“It was a collective effort, but Richard Howell. I told him after the game that was a grown man game. He controlled the backboard and he made his mind up that he was going to get every rebound. We had a timeout when I challenged the guys, I said â€˜Is anyone else going to get one,â€™ and Richard said donâ€™t worry about it coach, Iâ€™ll get them all. For the most part that was his attitude and that was a big factor for us.”
“I canâ€™t remember which timeout it was. The thing with their team, and with us, is that when you play in November and December good team that challenge you, itâ€™s not the first time weâ€™ve been in the situation where we have to execute our offense under some duress. You have to understand how important it is to get a defensive shut out and rebound. November and December carries over from now until early January, because weâ€™ve been in games like that. I thought our guys accepted the challenge. We knew it wasnâ€™t going to be easy. They were fighting and battling. It was one of those where mentally youâ€™ve got to say â€˜Iâ€™m going to get it done.â€™ Theyâ€™re not going away. They never did and theyâ€™re not going down. I thought our guys mentally showed a lot of toughness.”
“Hereâ€™s what I like about the team right now, and again weâ€™ve got to get ready to play on Wednesday at Maryland, whatâ€™s happening is that our younger players are figuring out along with our older players, how our team needs to play to be effective. I know he got hurt late in the game, I hope that heâ€™s ok. With Seth, I donâ€™t know exactly what happened. But, the majority of the game even though he had 22, I thought Rodney and T.J. were fresh. We wanted to keep a fresh body on him the whole game. Those two guys, for young players, they did a very good job. Seth made tough shots, he made some, but theyâ€™re learning. The young guys are kind of learning how to blend in with our older guys. Our team is much more together from that perspective than we were early on, even in Puerto Rico.”
“Hereâ€™s what youâ€™ve got to bank on right now, and the fact that we have four veteran players, they get it. They understand it. We lost four in a row at one time last year and we were a game away from putting a fork in us. We were just about cooked. But, we didnâ€™t. Those four guys collectively need to find that kind of leadership within our ranks. It wonâ€™t be easy on Wednesday. There are no easy wins, there just arenâ€™t in this league. Hopefully, the fact that we have some veteran players helps with that.”
“That was fun too. It was fun for our guys. Our crowd was unreal. Our students started getting out there at four oâ€™clock last night and this morning. Iâ€™m happy for our fans, I really am. My hope is that we can continue to deliver, because weâ€™ve got a passionate fan base and they love their teams. Not just our team, all of the Wolfpack teams. Weâ€™ve got great fans. Your hope is that you can keep getting better. Itâ€™s fun for everybody. Our crowd was a lift today. It got loud in there, really loud.”
“The biggest part that helped us was Calvin and Richard. Those two didnâ€™t end up in foul trouble. I think there was a point where Richard came out in the second half and kept saying Iâ€™ve got to get him out, then I kept saying to myself â€˜I ainâ€™t taking him out.â€™ He stayed in the game. I got to use every timeout because he was rebounding the ball. But the fact that they werenâ€™t in foul trouble was big for our team. We said it multiple times. Richard played a lot of minutes. You could see at the end of the game how he becomes a factor with the rebounding and defensive things he does. If heâ€™s sitting over there with four, weâ€™re a little more vulnerable. I think it was big that those guys stayed out of foul trouble.”
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
NC State overpowers No.1 Duke
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
Amile Jefferson Fouls Out, Duke Fans Head To YouTube
Duke Blue Devils basketball player Amile Jefferson was whistled for five fouls on Saturday, resulting in his disqualification from the game. Poor Amile did not agree with several of these calls, and apparently Duke fans didn’t agree either. So one fan decided to post video of all five fouls to YouTube. Yep. A Duke fan compiled a YouTube video to protest what he or she considered a bunch of bad calls, in the finest tradition of Florida State football fans. This is truly hilarious and the best possible cap on the day for enjoyers of schadenfreude everywhere.