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NC State fends off Campbell, 73-67

All part of the journey, my friends.

NCAA Basketball: Campbell at N.C. State Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

NC State ran into just a tad bit more resistance this time out, but found enough plays in crunch time to hold off Campbell, which nearly three-balled its way to a big upset road win.

Jarkel Joiner knocked down two clutch jumpers in the last 90 seconds to help State get over the finish line. He nailed a pull-up to push the Pack’s lead to four with 1:23 left, then did the same with 31 seconds to go. Two games in and he’s proven an obvious difference maker; tonight he had 15 points in the second half.

NC State needed every bit of that second-half effort, because Terquavion Smith was surprisingly absent after scoring 17 first-half points. T didn’t have a bad night by any means, but in those last 20 minutes he maybe tried too much to facilitate rather than score. I would not expect this to be a trend.

He was the only State player to make a three in the game, and all of those came in the first half. This was an odd one, and that’s just the first of the fun facts.

Campbell started the game 6-6 from three, which is when you knew the potential for some unwelcome shenanigans was there. The Camels even banked one in late in the game to help them stay afloat.

They finished the night 10-18 on threes and 7-18 at the free throw line, because sure, why not. (They were 3-14 before knocking down their last four freebies.) If their night at the free throw line is different, then who knows; also, if their night beyond the arc is different, then we definitely know. They hit on the toughest part of the upset recipe and whiffed on the easiest; hey, those are the breaks.

NC State’s defensive intensity was non-existent during the first 10 minutes as the Camels went on their fluky shooting run, and when you open that window, a competent team is bound to fly through it in spectacular fashion at some point.

State did pick up the energy, though, and after giving up 23 over that initial span, it held the Camels to only 11 points over the last 10 minutes of the first half. That defensive performance did not carry over, unfortunately, and while State pushed its lead to nine on multiple occasions in the second half, Campbell refused to cave.

The Camels did exactly what they wanted in bogging down the pace of this one, but they were too careless with the ball, especially early on—turnovers helped NC State stay ahead in the first half despite how Campbell was shooting. That was a missed opportunity on their part. And of course there were the free throws.

It was a great from Campbell overall, but the Pack was able to overcome sloppiness and its own free throw issues (21-32) to hang on. Not an impressive win, but definitely an important one. Campbell came in gunning for this game.