When it was announced these two teams were going to battle, I didn’t expect anything less than a war. As usual, there are many tough games during the ACC tournament, but when its a team that’s only 30 mins from you with deep history, it’s something… different.
NC State is coming off a tough win against Wake Forest and it seems they carried that energy against Duke. NCSU and Duke consistently shot over 50% the entire game with much of the first half being over 60%, basically these teams were shooting lights out.
The game didn’t seem to favor until mid-second half and Duke took their biggest lead at 6 with the score, 81-75 and 8:37 to go. With Duke looking to expand their lead, Cat Barber put the team on his back and went to work. Barber played relentlessly and scored four straight points to close the gap, but with Plumlee at the foul line and loose balls, State couldn’t grab the lead. Martin tied the game with a jumper at 89 with 1:28 to go, but Duke soon found their energy and didn’t look back.
Brandon Ingram erupted in the second with 19, but only contributed 4 points. Ingram, who played the full 40 mins, looked fatigued during the last 10 mins of the game. With not much hitting on offense, the team had to look to Kennard and Allen to finish out the stretch.
While NCSU lost this game, I don’t think Gottfried could be more proud of a team that fought till the last second.
“that was a heck of a basketball game. I’ve had teams that won more games, but I don’t know that I’ve been more proud. I don’t think I’ve ever had a team give a better effort.”
While Barber is visibly upset about the loss, I don’t think he should regret one thing this season. Barber has been the fuel for this team and at times their only shot to winning games. He’s exhibited leadership, control and execution to prove he’s one of NC State’s best players and even Coach K can attest.
“we both played so well. Barber has been a great, great player. He not only produces points, he produces attention.”
But lets not take this game away from Duke. Kennard, Allen and during the last stretch, Plumlee, kept Duke’s momentum on high. Even with a broken nose, Plumlee gave this game everything had to ensure a Duke victory. This is the highest scoring game in ACC tournament in 21 years, and even in 1995 that score finalized in OT. During the press conference, Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram spoke on maintaining a high level offense.
“It was fun playing in this uptempo game but we did get weathered. As expected we came out full of energy, but, of course, we got tired towards the end. We have to get better offensively and maintain that energy through out”
Duke continues on to face Notre Dame, March 10 at 2pm.