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NC State loses at Wake Forest, 88-84

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

NC State's poor defensive effort in the first half unpleasantly collided with a great effort from Wake Forest's shooters, putting the Wolfpack behind by 21 at the break and leaving it only slightly less dead after 40 minutes. With the loss, NC State dropped back below .500 in league play.

The Deacs got everything easy in the first 20 minutes, and while they eventually had to hang on for dear life, 25 minutes or so of cushion was enough, as it tends to be.

The first half was a nightmare that is inevitable for any Mark Gottfried team, because there are gonna be at least a handful of games per year when the effort is as bad as the fundamentals. Within that handful there's also going to be occasions where even mediocre opponents expose that performance for every ounce of embarrassment possible.

That's what we got on Tuesday night, and there's not much time left now. Not much margin left for a sloppy team.