Yep, another post about N.C. State basketball on a Mets site.
Last night, State eked out a win over Boston College, 79-76. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a game to write about, especially on a baseball blog. But, it just seems that this season is going to be memorable and that these games should be chronicled. Shoot, maybe along the way a few of you will become fans.
BC isn’t very good but somehow, they always seem to give State fits. Of course, it’s not like State has had unparalleled success the last 20 years, either. It’s just that you see BC on the basketball schedule and you think, “well, here’s a win.” And it’s never easy.
The game started the way Wolfpack fans expected, with State jumping on top early. And then DJ Funderbuk came off the bench, making his first appearance after a long Covid absence. And it seemed like he never was gone, as he immediately became a force down low, scoring buckets in bunches right around the rim.
State jumped out to a 15-point first half lead. But midway through the half, Manny Bates left the game with some type of knee injury. He collided with a BC player away from the ball and it certainly didn’t look like much. But he didn’t play the rest of the game. Bates has become an important offensive piece for the Pack this season. And his shot blocking is a major weapon, too.
At the half, State led by 10. But in the second half, everything fell apart. BC came out with much more energy and on top of being lethargic, State ran into foul trouble. Braxton Beverly, who eventually fouled out, was sent to the bench but given how poorly he was playing, that wasn’t a big deal. But Funderburk picked up a quick two fouls in the second half and was nowhere near the factor he was before intermission. And with Bates gone, State struggled to score.
Jerricole Hellems did his best to keep State afloat but he didn’t have much help. And eventually BC took the lead. It was back and forth down the stretch until freshman Shakeel Moore hit a jumper to put State up, 77-76. After a steal, Moore provided the game’s final points with an attempted dunk that didn’t quite go as planned, yet still went in the basket. It should be noted that Moore failed to pass the ball ahead to a wide open Funderburk.
Wynston Tabbs shot the Eagles back in the game, hitting a bunch of 3s in the second half. But he made the mistake of intentionally bumping into Devon Daniels after a made bucket. There was no reason to do that – other than taunting. No foul was called but Daniels got his revenge, as he came up with the steal in the final moments that clinched the win for State.
BC entered the game shooting 31.7% on 3-point shots. State entered the game holding opponents to 26% from behind the arc. So, of course, BC proceeded to hit 10 three-point shots in the game, at a 43.5% clip.
But even with BC’s hot shooting, Bates out with an injury and Funderburk in foul trouble – State came out with a win. It’s the type of game that State absolutely would have lost in the past. The Pack is now 6-1 with a 2-0 mark in the conference.
This was their first game after defeating then #17 ranked UNC. Under State’s previous three coaches, the Wolfpack was 2-20 following a win against either UNC or Duke. Under current coach Kevin Keatts, the Pack is now 3-1 in such games. As the coach said during his introductory press conference, “Kevin Keatts is a winner.”