If any NC State fans had any questions about the future of the Wolfpack basketball program, all of those questions were answered Wednesday night as the freshman trio of Cam Hayes, Shakeel Moore and Deron Seabron combined for 45 of the Wolfpack 80 points as NC State extended their winning streak to five games as they defeated Notre Dame 80-69 Wednesday evening.
With the victory, NC State improves to 13-9 overall and 9-8 in the ACC. The win was also NC State’s fourth straight road ACC victory. Notre Dame has now dropped four straight contest and now sit at 9-14 overall and 6-11 in ACC action.
NC State couldn’t have asked for a better start with the Wolfpack pushing ahead 11-4 at the first media timeout. A 7-0 Notre Dame run tied the game at 11 with a three from Prentis Hubb. Baskets from Braxton Beverly and Manny Bates put the Wolfpack back in front 15-12 at the 11:30 mark of the first half.
Neither team would stay in an offensive groove as both teams traded multiple missed shots before Cole Hellems connected for three to put the Wolfpack ahead 18-14. The Irish found success beating the NC State press and driving inside to cut the Wolfpack lead to 20-19. After a Cam Hayes jumper followed by another Notre Dame basket inside, Beverly added a corner three making the score 25-21 in favor of NC State at the next media timeout.
Shakeel Moore gave NC State a 32-24 lead with a pull-up three from the top before Moore gave NC State their first double-digit lead at 34-24 with another basket with just over three minutes left in the half. Both teams traded baskets which allowed NC State to maintain a stronghold on their lead with 2:00 left leading by eight. The half ended with both teams missing shots as the Wolfpack lead remained at eight 40-32 at the break.
The second half opened with much of the same as NC State maintained a 44-36 lead after a three-pointer from Deron Seabron. The Wolfpack lead grew to 48-36 with a Bates offensive rebound and putback dunk. Notre Dame ended a long scoring drought with a three trimming the NC State lead to 48-39 with 15:16 left in regulation.
NC State’s lead grew to 56-41 with a basket from Beverly with 13:20 left. After the second media timeout ahead 12, the Wolfpack kept their foot on the pedal extending their lead to 69-53 with 7:05 on the clock. Hayes added yet another three to push the Wolfpack lead to 74-57.
A late push from the Irish trimmed the NC State lead to 76-64 with just under two minutes left before another basket from Notre Dame cut the score to 76-67 with 1:29 remaining. The Notre Dame run extended to 12-0 as the Wolfpack lead was depleted to just 76-69 with under a minute left. NC State was able to elude the Irish full-court press leading to an easy basket from DJ Funderburk with the assist credited to Seabron. Notre Dame came up empty on their next possession sending the Wolfpack to the charity stripe ice the game extending the NC State winning streak to five games.
Hayes led all scorers with 20 points followed by a career-high 17 from Seabron while also collecting 13 rebounds. Hellems chipped in 13 points. Hubb led the Irish with 13 points.
Earlier today it was announced that NC State’s regular-season finale against Virginia Tech was canceled due to Covid-19 issues with the Hokies. The Wolfpack will now wait to see if another opponent will be added or if NC State will await their ACC Tournament fate.