An impressive defensive effort from the NC State Wolfpack holding Davidson to just 29% shooting from beyond the arc pushed NC State into the second round of the 2021 NIT with a 75-61 victory over the Davidson Wildcats Thursday evening in Denton, TX
Along with the defensive showcase, the Wolfpack were able to throttle the nets shooting 59 % from the floor while shooting 41% from three-point range. NC State was also able to win the rebound battle 29-24 while NC State failed to record a block in back-to-back games before recording at least one in all of its previous games.
The Wolfpack got off to a great start jumping out to an early 12-4 lead before going ahead by 10 at 14-4 at the first media timeout. Davidson settled in slightly cutting the NC State lead to six before Cole Hellems answered inside to put the Wolfpack ahead 18-11.
Shakeel Moore added a jumper before Manny Bates scored inside pushing the Wolfpack lead to 22-11. The NC State lead grew to as much as 14 with a free throw from Hellems and a layup from DJ Funderburk. Funderburk added another deep jumper as Wildcats switched to a zone defense.
NC State held a 33-22 lead at the 3:33 media timeout before a dunk from Manny Bates extended the Wolfpack lead to 13. Davidson threatened late cutting the NC State lead to 10 before a three-point play from Funderburk gave him his 14th first-half. Another run from the Wildcats including a three before the buzzer cut the NC State lead to 40-32 at the half.
A quick 4-0 run from Davidson cut the Wolfpack lead to 40-36 to start the second half. NC State settled in to push their lead back to double digits at 48-38 after the first media break of the half. The Wolfpack kept their foot on the pedal extending their lead to 57-41 with just under 11 minutes left in regulation.
Cam Hayes got in on the three-point action adding a three of his own giving the Wolfpack a 64-44 lead before the NC State cushion got over 20 with a basket from Cole Hellems. Davidson would be unable to put a serious dent into their deficit as they trailed NC State 70-51 with 4:30 left in the game.
Davidson wouldn’t go away quietly as another Wildcats run cut the NC State lead to 72-61 with just 1:48 left. NC State would lock in to finish the game and advance to the second round with a 75-61 victory.
Funderburk paced the Wolfpack with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Bates followed with 14 points and 8 rebounds while Hellems added 13 points. Luka Brajkovic led four Wildcats in double figures with 15 points.
NC State now awaits the winner of Colorado State/Buffalo next Thursday, March, 25.