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NC State comes up short at Auburn, 79-73

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NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

A big win was right there within reach for NC State with five minutes left—the Wolfpack took a two-point lead on a Braxton Beverly layup, and suddenly a road upset felt more than doable. But Auburn scored the next 10 points to run past the Pack to the 79-73 win.

There was a pivotal point above a minute after Beverly’s layup where DJ Funderburk was hit with a dubious traveling call that made for a quick turnaround on the scoreboard. Could be that nothing would have changed in the end if that call doesn’t go against State, but no doubt that one hurt quite a bit.

But State also didn’t play smart after taking the late lead, and sloppiness meant empty possessions when the Pack needed to counter Auburn’s run.

So we have to live with another close-but-no-cigar game, which remains frustrating. There was nothing bad about this loss, and NC State did well to battle throughout—rallying back from 10 down in the first half to take the lead back, getting to the half down one, answering most punches with another in the second half. Still, frustrating to come up short of a really valuable win. But at least a handful of charge calls weren’t the difference!

Markell Johnson and CJ Bryce both played pretty well for the Pack, but the team didn’t get anything from Jericole Hellems or Braxton Beverly at the offensive end, which was tough to overcome.

It could have been a better performance all around, but still, they were right there in the closing minutes.

NC State will be back at it on Sunday against The Citadel.