17 NC State turnovers led to 15 Colorado State points and a 65-61 NIT quarterfinal defeat for the Wolfpack Thursday evening at the Comerica Center in Frisco, TX.
The Wolfpack were with guard Braxton Beverly who was ruled out late Thursday afternoon which forced more ball-handling from the younger NC State guards and allowed their youthfulness to show in crucial times with many unforced turnovers.
DJ Funderburk broke the scoreless tie with a 5-0 run to start the game giving the Wolfpack the early lead. Funderburk extended the NC State lead to 7-0 with a dunk forcing an early CSU timeout. The Rams settled in after the timeout slicing the Wolfpack lead to 11-7 with 12:55 left in the opening half.
CSU pulled ahead 12-11 after a pair of free throws with just under 10 minutes on the clock. Funderburk stayed active scoring his 11th point of the opening stanza to put NC State back on top. Shakeel Moore followed with a hesitation move and finish inside to give the Wolfpack a 16-12 lead at the next media timeout.
Things remained close before rarely used Max Farthing came off the bench to add a three making the score 26-22 in favor of the Wolfpack. Both teams ensued trade missed shots as NC State carried a 28-25 lead into the half.
Both teams opened the half with turnovers before Cole Hellems hit a corner three. Neither team played much defense as the offenses had no problem scoring as CSU tied the game at 35-35 with 15:55 left. The Rams answered with a three capping off a 7-0 run to go ahead 38-35 forcing an NC State timeout.
A few costly turnovers from NC State allowed CSU to remain ahead 44-41 with 10:53 left in the second half. A repeat of the start of the half as turnovers and missed baskets played out with the Rams still leading by three at the 7:53 media timeout. CSU pushed their lead to eight at 55-47 with a 7-0 run with just under five minutes left.
Hellems paused the Rams run with an old fashion three-point play before CSU beat the NC State press for a layup inside. Moore answered with a three to cut the Rams lead to 57-53 lead with just 4:22 left. Three free throws from Cam Hayes cut the CSU lead to three after a foul and technical.
Manny Bates was called for goaltending making the score 61-56 in favor of Colorado State with just over two minutes left. Hellems answered with a big three to cut the Rams lead to two before David Roddy finished a fadeaway jumper with 1:17 left pushing the CSU lead to 63-59. Funderburk came up with a loose ball and dunk to make the score 63-61. Colorado State came up empty on their next possession giving NC State the chase to tie or take the lead with 22.6 on the clock.
After a Wolfpack timeout, Hellems pulled up from three at the top of the key but his shot hit the back of the rim with under 10 seconds left. CSU headed to the line and connected on both shots to ice the game and escape with the 65-61 win ending the Wolfpack’s season.
Hellems led the Wolfpack with 15 points. Funderburk and Bates finished with 13 each. Isaiah Stevens led all scorers with 18 points followed by 16 points from Roddy and Kendle Moore.