Down two of their top scorers, a motivated NC State squad fell just short to Syracuse 76-73 Sunday evening in Syracuse, NY in ACC action.
NC State falls to 7-6 overall and 3-5 in the ACC while the Orange improve to 10-5 and 4-4 in the ACC.
Syracuse outshot NC State 46% to 44% from the floor with neither team shooting very well from beyond the arc with the Wolfpack finishing 6-for-23 and the Orange not much better at 8-for-21. NC State held the narrow margin in rebounds 37-35.
Both teams opened the contest in an offensive flow as the score was knotted at 11-11 at the first media timeout. The hot shooting continued as Syracuse pulled ahead 20-17 at the 11:28 break. Both squads combined for 14-24 shooting in the first nine minutes of action.
The lead traded sides for the next few minutes with NC State holding the lead with 7:08 left in the half at 29-26. Shakeel Moore knocked down a corner three followed by a steal and dunk from Dereon Seabrook to extend the Wolfpack lead to 34-26 capping off a 9-0 run.
The Wolfpack run continued with NC State leading 38-28 at the final media break of the half. Syracuse would be unable to cut into the Wolfpack lead as NC State carried a 47-38 lead into the half down two of their top scorers.
Syracuse came out of the half on a mission cutting the NC State lead to 51-47 before trimming to lead to three at 53-50 at the 14:46 media timeout. The Wolfpack lead would get down to one before Bates stopped the Syracuse run with a free throw. The Orange tied the score at 54 and 56 all before taking a 58-56 lead with 10:20 left in regulation.
Cole Hellems gave the Wolfpack a 63-62 lead before Buddy Boeheim answered with a deep three putting Syracuse ahead 65-63 with 6:30 on the clock. A 5-0 Orange run forced an NC State timeout with 4:14 left with the Wolfpack trailing 70-65. Bates collected his fourth block of the game which lead to a fast break Dereon Sebron layup to cut the Orange lead to 70-69.
Syracuse answered with an inside basket to go ahead 72-69 with just over a minute left. NC State added a free throw before sending the Orange to the line for two made free throws to go ahead four with 17 seconds left.
Thomas Allen would be fouled on a three-point attempt with 6.1 left. After connecting on all three free throws, Syracuse would head back to the line adding two more free throws making the score 76-73. NC State would get one final shot to tie the game but Cam Hayes’s three at the buzzer was off the mark sending the Orange to the three-point win.
Hellems finished the night with 22 points. Bates followed with a 17 point, 14 rebound double-double. Beverly rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11 points. Alan Griffin led the Orange on offense with 17 points and 6 rebounds.
NC State returns to action Wednesday, February 3 as they host UVA. Tipoff is slated for 9 pm.