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NC State hadn’t won in Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1995. Thant changed last night when Dennis Smith Jr took matters into his own hands and let the Wolfpack to a 84-82 victory.

This was a coming of age game for Dennis Smith Jr. Sure he has been one of the most remarkable players in the ACC, leading the league in steals, assists and nearing the top in scoring. But against Duke it was different. Smith Jr. not only put up the stats, but he broke through a wall. He willed his team to win on this night. When they needed him most, he delivered.

The Wolfpack went on a 20-5 run late in the second half and it was keyed by the play of Dennis Smith Jr. He was doing everything. He scored off the bounce, in transition, he pulled up and hit 3s, he found the open man for easy buckets. Dennis Smith Jr finally had his breakthrough, signature performance and it was against the #17 rival Blue Devils.

Smith finished with 32 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Backing him up was a big performance from Malik Abu who dropped 19 of his own while grabbing 9 boards. Then there was Kapita. The kid who hadn’t really done much in ACC play and didn’t play a single minute over the past 2 games. The freshman came in and played the biggest game of his career, putting up 14 points and 10 boards in only 19 minutes of play.

NC State now sits at 3-5 in the conference with two top 25 wins. Next up is a road trip to meet #13 Louisville.

Stay tuned as we’ll have our in-depth breakdowns coming up soon.

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NC State Basketball

NC State’s Wes Moore is 1 of 15 on the Late Season Watchlist for the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award

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NC State Women’s Basketball Head Coach Wes Moore is 1 of 15 on the Naismith Late Season Watchlist for the Coach of the Year Award.

Currently, Moore has led NC State from being unranked in the preseason polls, to #6 currently. The Wolfpack are 23-3, and numerous publications project them to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Moore was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award in 2020-21 and a Semifinalist in 2015-16.

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NC State Basketball

NC State NET Rankings Report After Syracuse Loss

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NC State lost to Syracuse 83-87 last night, and as a result, the Wolfpack fell 5 spots in the NET Rankings to #80. The Orange moved up 6 spots to #84.

(NCAA)

NC State is now 9th in the ACC in the NET rankings.

For a refresher on how the NET Rankings are calculated:

Using the quadrant system, which was in its fourth season in 2020-21, the quality of wins and losses will be organized based on game location and the opponent’s NET ranking.

Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353
The number of Quadrant 1 wins and Quadrant 3/4 losses will be incredibly important when it comes time for NCAA tournament selection and seeding. (NCAA)

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NC State Basketball

Thoughts on NC State’s 83-87 Loss to Syracuse

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NC State’s (16-10/8-7) 83-87 loss to Syracuse this evening might have been the nail-in-the-coffin when it comes to the Wolfpack’s NCAA Tournament aspirations. They were barely on the bubble as it was, but this game and the next two games against Boston College and Florida State were “must wins.” On top of that, the Wolfpack probably needed to beat Pitt in the regular season finale, and beat either Duke or UNC.

With this loss, NC State will need a miracle. They will need to win the rest of their regular season games, which concludes with 3 consecutive Quad 1 games.

In regards to this evenings game, it’s hard to beat a team when you allow them to shoot 61.3% in the first half, and allow a guy who averages 11.3 points per game (Chris Bell) to sink 8 of 9 three’s at the halfway mark. Sure, you could make the excuse that they were just hitting everything they threw up, but the defense was lackluster, and they failed to adjust to a player with a hot hand.

What I’m about to say isn’t meant to describe a moral victory for NC State. With that being said, this team didn’t give up, and clawed back from a 15-point halftime deficit (16-point at one point in the 2nd half), to take a 1-point lead with 3:15 left in the game. That was the first time the Wolfpack had led since it was 2-0.

Senior DJ Horne was sensational once again, scoring 25+ points for the 5th straight game, matching what Cat Barber did back in 2015-16. Horne finished with 32 points, hitting 11 of his 20 field goal attempts, and an insane 6 of 8 from three.

Could you argue that Horne was fouled on the last play? I guess, but I wouldn’t have called it.

Three other Wolfpack players scored in double figures: Ben Middlebrooks (12), DJ Burns (12) and Jayden Taylor (10). Honestly, they all shot well. Middlebrooks had a double-double, with 10 rebounds.

Mohamed Diarra was solid with 7 points (3-6) and 8 boards.

Syracuse came back to reality in the second half, and ended up shooting 51% from the field, but the Wolfpack shot 47%. Both teams shot well. In fact, NC State actually scored more points off of turnovers, had more second chance points and had more free throws.

You simply can’t put yourself in a position to dig yourself out of a 16-point deficit. You can’t allow a guy to make 8 of 9 three’s in the opening half, with 6 of them being practically uncontested.

The Wolfpack have lost 3 of the last 4, and all 3 losses have been by 4 points or less. I wouldn’t say the Pack lost any of those three games due to a lack of effort. Rather, I would say it was primarily due to inconsistency, a lack of discipline and poor decisions in timely moments (Jayden Taylor’s TO with 1:13 left with the game tied).

With Wake Forest beating Pitt tonight, a Wolfpack win would have put them in 4th place in the ACC.

A big missed opportunity for the Pack this evening.

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NC State Basketball

NC State 83 Syracuse 87: BOX SCORE

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NC State has now lost 7 straight to Syracuse, falling to the Orange 83-87 in PNC Arena this evening. Below is the Box Score.

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