Pack Power: NC State takes down #2 seed Duke

Washington, D.C. – The NC State men’s defeated number two seed and 11th-ranked Duke, 74-69, Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament played at Capital One Arena.

NC State’s Casey Morsell #14. (photo courtesy of NCSU SID)

With the win, the Pack advances to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament for the first time since 2014. NC State will face third-seed Virginia. The game against the Cavaliers will tipoff at 9:30 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.

Mohamed Diarra had a monster game for the Pack, finishing with a career-high 14 points and a career-high four blocks while also pulling down 16 rebounds, the second-most in a single game in his career.

Diarra also had a team-high and career-high tying three steals.

DJ Horne led NC State with 18 points off-the-bench while Michael O’Connell finished with 12 and Casey Morsell added 11 points, with all 11 points coming in the second half.

DJ Burns finished with 10 points and a team-high tying four assists.

NC State held a three-point lead at the break and never trailed in the second half.

The Pack scored the first six points of the second half to open a nine-point lead and force Duke to call a timeout with 17:07 to go.

The Blue Devils battled back to get within two, 50-48, with 11:47 to play and trailed by just three, 53-50, with 10:52 to go when NC State went on a 9-2 run to take a double-digit advantage, 62-52, with 6:20 left.

Duke cut NC State’s advantage to five with 2:28 remaining, and after empty possessions from both teams, Burns extended the Pack’s lead back to seven with a driving lay-up with 1:23 to go.

Duke scored the next five points to get within two on a Kyle Filipowski lay-up with 19 seconds to play, but Horne stepped to the foul line and made two free throws with 15 seconds and the Pack got a stop on the other end to secure the win.

Filipowski led the Blue Devils with 28 points while Mark Mitchell added 18.

Thanks to Horne’s 18 points off-the-bench, NC State outscored Duke’s bench 21-0 and despite the Blue Devils grabbing 12 offensive rebounds to just nine for the Pack, NC State outscored Duke, 18-8, in second chance points.

After a sluggish start from both teams in the first three minutes, NC State came to life midway through the opening half, hitting five of six shots to take a 19-12 lead with 10:21 to go in the first period.

The Pack’s lead was 24-19 when the Blue Devils went on a 9-0 run to take a 28-24 lead on a Mark Mitchell dunk.

NC State bounced back with a run of its own, scoring the next six points to retake the lead, 30-28, with 3:34 left until half.

Horne made a running jumper in the lane to beat the halftime buzzer and send the Pack into the locker room with a 35-32 lead at intermission.  

Horne led NC State with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the first half.