March 14, 2014
Box Score vs. Syracuse | Photo Gallery | ACC Tournament Interactive Bracket
GREENSBORO, N.C. - No. 7 seed NC State added the signature win it had been close to on so many occasions this season, defeating No. 2 seed (and RPI No. 9 ) Syracuse 66-63 in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal on Friday night.
“I’m very, very excited for our players,” head coach Mark Gottfried said. “I’m really, really proud of them. I don’t know if I could be more proud of a group than I am of my team. And they believed they could win, which is the most important thing.”
The victory gives NC State three victories over RPI top 50 programs and improved Gottfried’s record in the ACC Tournament to a stout 6-2 in three appearances.
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Player of the Year T.J. Warren led all scorers with 28 points, marking his 16th-straight game scoring 20 or more points. Jordan Vandenberg provided an enormous life with10 points.
No. 2 seed Syracuse (27-5) was led in scoring by Jerami Grant with 13 points.
Both teams struggled to find their groove on the offensive end, and spent most of the first half shooting below 25 percent from the floor. Tyler Lewis’ deep three pointer with 4:43 left in the first half tied the score at 22 all and sparked a late rally that saw the Wolfpack take a 28-25 lead into the locker room.
The teams returned to the hardwood and traded shots early until the Wolfpack went on a 5-0 run to extend the lead to 42-37. This would be the first of several runs that would color the latter part of the second half. Tied at 37, Ralston Turner drained a 3-pointer and Warren added a basket that prompted Syracuse to call a timeout. The break did nothing to quiet NC State as Vandenberg responded with a dunk to give the Pack their then-largest lead of the game, 44-37.
The Wolfpack took a 52-44 lead before Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis began chipping away at the deficit. The Orange went on a 12-2 run to take its first lead of the second half, 59-57 with 3:41 to play.
Like they did on Thursday night vs. Miami, NC State closed strong, finishing the game on a 9-4 run. Turner drained arguably the biggest 3-pointer of his career with 2:28 to go, giving the Wolfpack a 62-59 advantage, and the lead for good.
Syracuse closed to within one with 26 seconds left, but missed six straight field goal attempts, including four 3-point attempts and NC State held on for the victory as time expired.
Up next, the Wolfpack will face the Duke in the tourney semifinal Saturday, March 15. The contest will begin at 3:00 p.m.