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NC State fends off a late UNC rally, beats the Heels 79-76

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NCAA Basketball: ACC Tournament-North Carolina State vs Pittsburgh Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Oh no, you can’t just go and make it easy when you could make it easy, can you, you magnificent basketball team? You ever-loving stinkin’ beautiful basketball children! Wheeew. Wow. So that all happened, huh.

UNC got its offensive rebounds as it does typically, and Jericole Hellems hardly scratched the scoring column, and yet still this was a game that NC State led by 17 at a point during the first half. I am as confused as the rest of you.

Devon Daniels and Manny Bates both were outstanding, and Shakeel Moore picked a hell of a time to break out for 17 points. Those three combined to shoot 21-35 from the floor, while UNC and, most notably, Garrison Brooks, struggled from the field. Brooks looked like an NBA All-Star in two games against State last season but shot just 5-14 tonight.

R.J. Davis and Caleb love combined to shoot 8-28.

The Tar Heels’ lack of perimeter offense was apparent as they shot just 2-12 from three, and that was particularly damaging since the Heels had just an average night inside the arc: 50% on twos.

NC State did get efficient perimeter scoring, going 8-17 from outside, and that helped give the Wolfpack a decisive shooting edge overall. That and a +4 turnover margin helped overcome the Heels’ rebounding advantage, flipping that particular script on its head for once.

A less painful finish would have been nice, but who cares, it’s a win and it’s a relief and Christmas is not canceled.