If you’re an NCAA tournament team, then you win games like this in mid-February, and NC State beat Wake Forest despite some late-game hiccups, 90-84. Al Freeman led all Wolfpack scorers with 24 points, and Omer Yurtseven scored 21.
The last four or five minutes wouldn’t have suggested as much, but State was by far the better team for the majority of the afternoon. NC State rallied from a 10-4 deficit in the first four minutes to assert control over the last 10 of the first half and took a six-point lead into the break.
The solid offensive effort that built State’s first-half lead continued early in the second half, and the Wolfpack pushed the lead into double figures; Wake Forest responded with some shots here and there, but mostly State was able to maintain that double-digit lead down the stretch.
It could have been a cleaner finish, I’ll grant you. Poor free throw shooting and some really poor late-game defense helped Wake stay in the theoretically we-could-win zone for far too long, but NC State simply had too much of a head start for those things to matter in the final accounting. Fine by me, I ain’t gonna quibble about it.
The Wolfpack shot the ball well both inside and outside of the arc, which was the primary factor in this win. State also finished +3 in the turnover column.
NC State is 18-9 after this very useful week and will return home for a pair of games that could completely solidify its tournament status.