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NC State pulls away from Vanderbilt for 80-65 win

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-North Carolina State vs Seton Hall Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

There was that sense of deja vu in the second half today, and not the good kind. NC State kept Vanderbilt at arm’s length most of the game, but when the Commodores pulled to within two at 60-58, it was hard not to feel like another game was slipping away.

Fortunately, the Wolfpack had another response in it and pulled away down the stretch for a relatively comfortable win. Shew. Let’s hope that Vandy ends up being respectable in the SEC this season to make this win look good.

The Commodores left a lot of points at the free throw line and made only three of their 22 three-point attempts—those are tough circumstances to overcome in any given game, and they were not up to the challenge.

Markell Johnson led NC State with 19 points to go with seven assists and six rebounds. And State needed the offense since Devon Daniels and Braxton Beverly were largely non-factors today.

DJ Funderburk had a nice game as well, scoring 16 points on 5-10 shooting. Torin Dorn was the only other State player in double figures.

When the schedule was released, I figured the most realistic goal was a split of the Wisconsin/Vanderbilt/Penn State/Auburn stretch. So far so good, though the Wisconsin game still smarts a bit.

The Pack will return home on Wednesday against Western Carolina.