North Carolina State had a strong start to their NCAA season before they were to host the top ranked Duke Blues Devils at home on Jan. 12, 2013. However, the Wolfpack did not disappoint in their biggest test of the year as both C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell both gave outstanding performances down the stretch to see off their close rivals 76-84.
The Wolfpack were picked to finish atop of the ACC in the opening weeks of the season, but several losses saw their potential to be doubted, but any critics of the team were silenced in their thrilling victory that saw the crowd storm the court at the end of the game.
Speaking after the game to ESPN, NC State's C.J. Leslie who scored 25 points in the game discussed the sight of the crowd pouring onto the floor:
I saw the whole court and I couldn't see a bit of court. I couldn't see one part of the floor. It was just people everywhere. So that's going to be a memory that we'll never forget. We'll always keep this in our minds.
Head coach Mark Gottfried will be pleased to see that his teams shooting from the floor continued to be their strong suit as their NCAA leading shooting percentage of 53% was nearly matched as they shot 51% against the Blue Devils.
One glaring statistic of the night was the amount of three point shots taken by Duke as the Blues Devils shot 20 times from behind the arc only hitting six while the Wolfpack were conservative with long range efforts shot only eight times hitting four. That statistic alone proving a major difference in the shot selection of the players and the defensive capability of NC State to force Duke into poor shooting situations.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will be frustrated to see his team's 15-0 start to the season ended, but it was to a worthy opponent as the Blue Devils fall to third in the ACC standings, while NC State ascend to the summit with their first 3-0 start to conference play since they last won the conference title in 1988-89.
Enjoy this article? Receive e-mail alerts when new articles are available. Just click on the “Subscribe” button above.