Duke 78 – NC State 73
Game Recap: State was quick out of the gate and seemed unfazed by the raucous Cameron Crazies as they jumped to an 8-0 lead. Obviously, Duke wouldn’t let the Wolfpack keep that but it didn’t seem to be their decision as the Pack continued to come at the Blue Devils in waves. You could tell that the Wolfpack had a week to prepare for this Duke team because in the first half the Devils weren’t able to execute anything the way they wanted to. Everywhere they turned there was a black jersey. Athleticism, good shooting and an attitude that State fans haven’t seen in a long, long time were all on display. Lorenzo Brown and CJ Leslie both had 8 at the half and Wood pitched in 7, but it was the unlikely star of the first 20 minutes, Alex Johnson, that sparked the Wolfpacks huge runs. Johnson was 3-4 from 3 point range and had 11 at the half. It wasn’t only offense that was fueling the Wolfpack, it was defense too. Duke’s high screen was tightly guarded every time and their guards never got a clean look. When they went inside it was the Calvin Leslie block party. NC State held Duke to only 2-14 first half 3s and 30% shooting. And as Duke tried to make a run late in the first half, State answered with a bang, courtesy of Lorenzo Brown ( Check it out below ) and the Wolfpack took a 46-30 lead into half.
But Duke wasn’t going to go away. Early in the 2nd half, the Cameron Crazies urged their Blue Devils for a run and they made one, cutting the lead down to 11. State answered right back with a run of their own and even extending the lead to 20 with about 12 minutes on the clock. That’s when the wheels fell off. The Wolfpack were already plauged with foul trouble when Calvin Leslie, CJ Williams and Richard Howell all picked up quick fouls, giving them 4 a piece and sending them to the bench. During that time Duke made the run that would eventually kill the Wolfpack. Seth Curry and Austin Rivers caught on fire and the Wolfpack seemed rattled. Duke kept chipping away and finally they broke through.Rivers hit deep 3 from the wing and Duke had their first lead with less than 3 minutes to play and capped a 16-3 run. Another Duke bucket and they were up 3 with only 25 seconds to play. State attempted to get Wood open but Duke defended it and Brown was forced to take an off balance 3 that drew iron, and after 2 more free throws Duke escaped with the 78-73 win.
Players of the Game:
Lorenzo Brown was a true leader tonight. He was barking orders, keeping his cool in a hostile environment and making plays when his team needed him. He finished with 19 points, 6 boards and 5 assists. He also added 2 steals and only 3 turnovers. Remember folks, Lorenzo Brown is only a sophomore and he’s going to only get better. What a performance tonight out of Brown!
Calvin Leslie, you’ve come a long way my friend. Leslie is an absolute game changer when he’s in the ball game. While he didn’t shoot well tonight he was an absolute monster defensively. Leslie had 12 points and 9 boards but he had Duke players scared when driving to the hoop thanks to his 6 blocks. When Leslie had to take a seat with foul trouble, the game changed. Duke started driving and scoring, something Leslie wasn’t allowing earlier in the game.
*The real player of the game was Seth Curry who scored a career high 26 points
State was up by 20 with under 12 minutes to play, but soon after Richard Howell, CJ Leslie and CJ Williams all had to go to the bench with foul trouble. It was during that stretch that Duke chipped away and eventually made their huge 16-3 run that gave them the win.
“We’re angry, disappointed that we lost but we’re not hanging our heads. We had Duke down 20 in Cameron Indoor and yeah we got shook in the second half and let them back in, but we just showed the world that we can play with anyone. We have a big game this weekend that we need to focus on and we’ll be ready.” – Lorenzo Brown
“It made it difficult, and we lost our aggressiveness when we got so many guys in foul trouble. That hurt. We’ve got to do a better job of defending without fouling.” – Mark Gottfried
“You put in a whole week of work preparing for these guys and go up 16 at halftime and give it up, it’s tough to swallow, but Coach said it in the huddle. We’ve just got to let this one go and get ready for Saturday.” – Alex Johnson
“I’m disappointed and I just don’t want to say something stupid, but we had them down and we let them come back. We should’ve won this one. I didn’t shoot well tonight and made some mistakes, but we showed a lot tonight. These guys aren’t going to get down, as a team we’re not going to get down. You know, I hate to lose, but we need these next few. We’re going to be focused.” – Scott Wood
“We were down after Carolina because we played so poorly in that game. We didn’t run our plays, we didn’t play our game. Tonight is different because we played great, they made some great shots, and we just need to learn how to win games like this one. We’re going to learn from the things we didn’t do good but we did a lot of good things tonight too.” – Lorenzo Brown