North Carolina State (6-2) took down Penn State (6-2) in Raleigh by a score of 85-78 as part of Wednesday’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge slate.
After the Nittany Lions ran out to an early 11-0 lead, the Wolfpack climbed back into the game thanks to its best three-point shooting performance this season.
How It Happened
First, the Nittany Lions came out with rapid-fire pace against the Wolfpack, running out to an early 9-0 lead. North Carolina State was unable to score for the first six minutes, unable to shoot over Penn State’s length. It wasn’t until Penn State held an 11-0 lead that North Carolina State scored its first bucked with 13:52 to go in the half.
With 6:56 to go in the half, North Carolina State had scraped back into the game, only trailing 24-23 and gaining all of the momentum. On its next series, North Carolina took their own 25-24 lead, followed by Penn state taking it back. North Carolina State took the lead 26-25 and didn’t give it back the rest of the half.
The Wolfpack came into this game as the 326th ranked three point-shooting team in the nation, but that theme was quickly trashed. The home team shot 10-16 from deep on the night.
Penn State went the final 6:34 of the half without hitting a field goal and allowed North Carolina State to take a 37-30 lead into the locker rooms. The Wolfpack’s Sam Hunt led all scorers in the first half with 11 points. Tony Carr led the Nittany Lions with 9 points, but struggled shooting 4-for-14 from the field. Lamar Stevens was also held scoreless in the first half, while turning the ball over three times.
Tony Carr made the Lions’ first basket in over seven minutes of game time, 15 seconds into the second half. NC State followed it up by getting and completing the and-one on the next play extending its lead to 40-32.
With 15:09 to go in the game, Tony Carr scored six consecutive points for the Lions, decreasing the Wolfpack’s lead to 50-43. This gave Carr 17 points on the night, and a lot of momentum. He made another shot in traffic, able to finish while being fouled. After hitting the foul shot, Penn State only trailed 50-46 with 14:40 left.
NC State seemed to continuously knock down threes, opening up their lead with the Nittany Lions throughout the second half. However, the Wolfpack were unable to close the door completely on the Blue and White.
Penn State was able to make it close late, as a Carr three-pointer cut the NC State lead to just three with two minutes left at 75-72. The Blue and White seemed to be more talented and athletic compared to NC State, but the Wolfpack had too much poise and experience for Pat Chambers’ squad to overcome.
The Nittany Lions also trailed by three with the score at just 77-74 with a minute to go. However, the Wolfpack were able to knock down their foul shots late. Josh Reaves and Jamari Wheeler both fouled out in the final minutes of this game, as Penn State tried to send NC State to the line.
NC State shot 37 free throws on the night, and were able to sink 25 of them. Hunt and Omar Yurtseven combined for 33 of the Wolfpack’s 39 bench points. Penn State’s bench was outscored 39-8 on the night.
Player Of The Game
Tony Carr | Sophomore | Guard
The only Nittany Lion to really show up, Carr struggled early himself. The sophomore made just five of his first 15 attempts on the night. However, Carr finished up with 29 points on 12-for-25 shooting. The point guard was able to add seven rebounds as well, while his assist numbers were hurt thanks to just 17 shots being made by the rest of the team combined.
Penn State begins its Big Ten slate on the road against Iowa on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on BTN.