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2nd Half Comeback Propels NC State Past Clemson 59-58 in Final Seconds

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It was a tale of two halves.

#9 seed Clemson couldn’t miss in the 1st half. They hit 51.6% from the field, and torched the net from deep, hitting 8 of 13 from beyond the arch.

NC State went into the locker room at halftime with a 16-point deficit hanging over their heads, trailing 42-26 (trailed by as much as 18).

Credit to the Wolfpack defense, the Tigers shot a horrid 19.4% from the field in the second half, and 10% from three.

Junior Point Guard Markell Johnson willed NC State to victory in the 2nd half. He finished the game with 23 points, with 13 of them coming in the 2nd half. Johnson was 4-9 from three for the game, with 3 of them in the 2nd half.

The final 3:44 of the game were dumfounding.

After taking the lead on a three-pointer by Johnson at the 5:38 mark, the Tigers stole it back on a layup by Elijah Thomas with 3:44 left.

Neither team would put a single point on the board again until Markell Johnson went to the free throw line with 2.6 seconds left on the clock.

Clemson, who only had 5 fouls, attempted to foul Johnson before he got the shot off, but was flagged for a definite foul on Johnson’s elbow while shooting.

With ice in his veins, Johnson sunk both free throws, giving the Pack a 1-point lead.

Clemson’s Marcquise Reed didn’t have the luck Braxton Beverly had back in January, missing a game-winning heave.

NC State’s comeback from 16 points at the half is the 2nd greatest comeback in ACC Tournament history.

Clemson fans can moan about the foul at the end of the game if they want. I can play that game too with Thomas’ obvious goaltending on CJ Bryce with 1:45 left, but I digress.

Maybe Tiger nation should moan about the fact their team managed to blow a 18-point lead.

NC State needed to win this game in order to have a chance of making the NCAA Tournament.

Check.

Now the Wolfpack will get a shot at #1 seed Virginia tomorrow at 12:30pm.

 

 

NC State Basketball

Markell Johnson is Returning to NC State for his Senior Season

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What I reported last week has been made official…Markell Johnson will be returning to NC State for his Senior Season.

Johnson went through the NBA Draft Evaluation Process, and despite not receiving an invitation to the 2019 NBA Combine, he did workout for the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Hornets.

This is huge news for the Wolfpack.

Johnson improved in nearly every facet of the game in 2018-19.

  • Field Goal Percentage – 46% –> 48.8%
  • 3-Point Percentage – 40.9% –> 42.2%
  • 2-Point Percentage – 49.1% –> 56.7%
  • Points Peg Game – 8.9 –> 12.6
  • Turnovers – 3.2 –> 2.2

He did see his Assist average go down last season (from an ACC best 7.3 to 4.2), but that was due to the team needing him to be more of a playmaker.

Part of Johnson’s issues as a Junior was foul trouble. He averaged 4 less minutes per game.

Johnson has NBA talent, but he will need to grow as a Senior, and stay on the court, and play more aggressively on a consistent basis.

The return of Markell makes NC State a prospective NCAA Tournament team next year.

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NC State Basketball

RELEASE: NC State Women’s Basketball Coach Wes Moore Receives New 6-Year Contract

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RALEIGH – After guiding the NC State women’s basketball program to back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances, Wes Moorehas received a new six-year contract. The contract was approved by the Board of Trustees in April and then by the UNC System Board of Governors this week.

“Wes continues to elevate our women’s basketball program and this new contract reflects our commitment to what he is building,” said Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan. “I look forward to Wes leading NC State women’s basketball for many years to come.”

Moore’s new deal extends him through 2025 and increases his compensation to $750,000 annually.

“I’m grateful to NC State for this commitment and belief in what we’re building,” said Moore. “We’ve made so many significant strides. We have a first-class facility to play in, a wonderful University and city to call home and I’m excited for the future of NC State women’s basketball.”

In six years in Raleigh, Moore has guided the Wolfpack to a 140-58 overall mark, including a 63-33 record in ACC competition. He has led NC State to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a 28-6 mark this season which culminated with a No. 9 final ranking, the highest final ranking by the Wolfpack since 1998.

Coaching a squad that lost four significant contributors to season-ending injuries, Moore finished as the runner-up for the Associated Press National Coach of the Year honors in 2019.  

Over the last three seasons NC State has gone a combined 77-24 and has turned renovated Reynolds Coliseum into one of the most formidable home court advantages in women’s basketball. NC State is 47-6 in the building since its renovation earned NCAA Tournament host seeds each of the past two seasons, advancing to the Sweet Sixteen out of Raleigh both years.

Over 30 seasons, Moore is among the all-time winningest college coaches with a career mark of 698-227 (.754), including 25 seasons of 20 or more wins.

Moore is the second winningest coach in program history behind the late Kay Yow. 

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NC State Signee Jalen Lecque NBA Mock Draft Update

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NC State 2019 signee Jalen Lecque is going through the NBA Draft Process, and has until June 10th to pull his name out of the hat. Lecque participated in the NBA Combine last week on the first day, but opted out of competition the next day. Everyone assumes that Lecque and his camp were pleased with his performance, and didn’t want to taint that image.

Here’s a rundown of where Lecque sits in the most recent Mock Drafts:

Sports Illustrated – 2nd Round, #41 overall, Atlanta Hawks (Updated 5/20)

NBADraft.net – 2nd Round, #57 overall, New Orleans Pelicans (Updated 5/15 at 2:01pm)

Sporting News – Top 50 – Unlisted (Updated 5/20)

Tankathon – Undrafted

Net Scouts Basketball – Undrafted (Updated 5/15)

While I think the likelihood of Lecque being in Raleigh next year is slim, I still am concerned for his future success in the NBA. Evan Daniels at 247Sports on numerous occasions has spoken to the fact that his game would benefit by a year in college, especially his shot, and inexperience at the point guard position. The NBA is an unforgiving league, and it’s easy to wash out if your not “NBA ready.”

If Lecque were to choose to come to NC State next year at the end of his evaluation process, there are technically no scholarships available, but I have no doubts that one would somehow become available.

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NC State Basketball

Markell Johnson UPDATE, Working Out for Hornets Today

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NC State Point Guard Markell Johnson is working out for the Charlotte Hornets today.

Johnson worked out for the Hawks on April 30th, after deciding to go through the NBA Draft Process on April 5th.

With one year of eligibility left, Johnson has until May 29th to decide whether he will return for his Senior season.

According to my sources, Johnson is expected to be back next year. In fact, I was told he met with the team last week to inform them of his plans.

With that being said, Johnson is getting the most out of this process. Even though he wasn’t invited to the NBA Combine, these workouts will give him feedback from NBA coaches and scouts that will be formative for his development.

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