RALEIGH, N.C – NC State put a stop to Clemson’s hot streak as they knocked off the Tigers 60-54 Saturday afternoon. The Tigers were having a historical week for their basketball program. It began with the programs’ first ever win at the Dean Dome against UNC, they then followed that up with a win at home against Duke, the No. 2-ranked team in the country. Clemson was looking to go for their third straight win against a North Carolina team, but the Wolfpack had a different idea. NC State (13-5, 4-4) was led by D.J. Funderburk’s first career double-double as well as a gritty effort at the end of the game despite being down two crucial players due to injury..
After teetering on his first double-double line for nearly every outing over the last five-games, Funderburk finally posted a career-high 11 rebounds to go along with his 13 points. The Pack’s lone big man entered five minutes into the game after Clemson’s big Aamir Simms scored 12 of the Tigers’ first 15 points. Funderburk was able to neutralize Simms on the defensive end, while contributing mightily on the offensive side. Funderburk played nearly the entire final 12 minutes of the first half and all of the second half and made the most of his opportunity shooting 5-of-6 from the field.
This was NC State’s CJ Bryce’s second game back after missing the last four games due to concussion symptoms. Bryce played all 40 minutes and came away with 11 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a steal to finish with a plus-minus of +6 on the afternoon.
Along with Bryce, both Markell Johnson and Devon Daniels notched double-digit points in the win, tallying 13 points apiece to finish tied with Funderburk for the team lead. While both players were 4-of-12 on the afternoon — not great by any stretch — they were efficient inside the arc and had a combined 10 rebounds, nine assists, three blocks and two steals.
During his time at NC State, head coach Keatts has consistently learned from the first match-up against nearly every team he’s played in the ACC. In three years, Keatts had gone 6-2 in “run-it-back” games during his career coming into Saturday. He now moves to 7-2 in the regular season, including 2-0 against the Tigers — both in revenge game scenarios after losses on the road.
Saturday’s win was a critical one as it finally put the Pack over the .500 threshold in conference play prior to a massive road game at Virginia on Monday. State is now 4-3 in ACC play, but might have to play with a limited lineup if neither Manny Bates nor Pat Andree are able to play. Both suffered injuries that led to them leaving Saturday’s contest and there is no word at this time on their status.
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