Late surge sends NC State Wolfpack past Georgia Tech, 72-64

Raleigh, NC – The NC State men’s basketball team outscored Georgia Tech 14-3 in the final four minutes of the game to defeat the Yellow Jackets, 72-64, inside PNC Arena Saturday afternoon.

DJ Burns (photo by Gene Galin)

With the win, NC State improves to 19-5, 9-4 in the ACC while Georgia Tech falls to 8-15, 1-12 in the ACC.

DJ Burns led the Pack with 24 points while Casey Morsell chipped in 17 and Ernest Ross finished with 16.

NC State’s two leading scorers – Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner – combined for just 10 points in the game, their fewest combined points in a game this season.

Despite scoring just five points, Smith did pass out a career-high 10 assists and also grabbed two steals.
The first half played out just like the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 17 in Atlanta. In that game, the Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 16-6 lead, but NC State slowly reeled them back in and used a 12-2 run to take a 42-37 lead into halftime.

On Saturday, Georgia Tech jumped out to a 19-11 lead, but the Pack just like a few weeks ago slowly caught up to the Yellow Jackets and closed the first half on a 10-0 run to take a 41-35 advantage into halftime.

But unlike the first game where the Pack never trailed again, Saturday the Yellow Jackets grabbed a second half lead.

NC State led 48-39 with 17:47 to play, but Georgia Tech went on a 15-4 run to take a 54-52 lead with 9:51 to play.

The Pack would go over seven minutes without a point in the second half, finally ending the skid with a transition dunk from Smith with 6:50 to play to tie the game at 54.

The Yellow Jackets would complete a three-point play on the other end and would hold lead until two Burns free throws with 2:34 to play give NC State a 62-61 advantage.

The Pack would never trail again as NC State held Georgia Tech scoreless for almost four minutes in the final 4:25 of the game, taking a 69-61 advantage before the Yellow Jackets made a three-pointer with 25 seconds left to to cut the Pack’s lead to five, but Georgia Tech would not score again.

NC State forced Georgia Tech into 17 turnovers in the game and outscored the Yellow Jackets, 16-0, in points off the bench.

The Pack is back in action Tuesday evening when it starts a three-game road stretch with a game at sixth-ranked Virginia. Tipoff in Charlottesville is scheduled for 9 p.m. and the game will be televised on the ACC Network.