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NC State uses a late run to fend off No. 7 Auburn, 78-71

Kevin Keatts is ... yeah, you know.

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at N.C. State Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve seen Markell Johnson serve as a one-man scoring run this season, and he was once again a critical part of an NC State win with his play in the latter stages. Johnson was a critical part in NC State’s run to take a 50-49 lead out to 69-57 with four minutes left. The Wolfpack was able to close out Auburn from there.


Four Factors NC State Auburn
Four Factors NC State Auburn
eFG% 62.3 52.4
TO% 28.2 32.1
OR% 26.7 40.5
FTR 43.4 19.4

Scoring and Efficiency

NC State 78 78 100.0 91.0
Auburn 71 78 91.0 100.0

The game was not so much what one would term a clinic in crisp offense, but these are also two of the most disruptive defensive teams in the country, and good lord was that ever on display. Auburn turned the ball over 25 times—nearly a third of its total possessions—while the Pack borked it up 22 times.

The less said about that and the collective free throw shooting tonight, the better.

The Wolfpack won this game with its modest edge in turnovers and much more significant edge in shooting percentage. As a wise basketball man once said, you gotta make shots.

NC State was an impressive 10-22 from three, while Auburn hit only 5 of its 25 outside attempts. The Tigers were an outstanding 25-37 (67.6%) inside the arc but ended up wasting too many opportunities either by turning it over or settling for jumpers. Maybe a more concerted effort to attack the glass would have made for a different result.

Johnson led all scorers with 27 points, including a 5-8 shooting performance from three. (He was only 4-9 at the free throw line, because that’s the kind of night it was. Braxton Beverly and Devon Daniels were also in double figures with 15.

This is a big win for a lot of reasons—it should vault State into the top 25, for one thing—but it also isn’t a surprising one, and maybe that’s the most encouraging part. This team is good, man.