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DJ Burns, bacon-saver and history-maker

Wins like this come but once a quarter century. (Or more.)

NC State v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Perhaps last night’s win wasn’t pure theft, but it sure was close. NC State needed help to salvage a rough night and got it—namely, a couple missed front ends and a turnover late to finally push it ahead of the Irish by the thickest of slender margins.

The final play could not possibly have worked out better, with DJ Burns getting the ball in the post against an inexperienced defender who, well, showed his inexperience. (Sorry, guy, that was rough.)

That was an easy shot by DJ Burns standards, but I give him a lot of credit for staying focused as undoubtedly the thought “wow, that was easy” intruded into his head as he stepped through that wildly mis-timed block attempt.

He delivered a win in highly unlikely circumstances: NC State’s 31.1 eFG% was its lowest of the season by a good margin, and to find a shooting percentage lower than that by a State team you have to go all the way back to 2019 against Virginia Tech, which was, you know, That Game.

To find a game State won while shooting sub-40%, you’ve gotta go back to December of 2017, when the Pack beat Tennessee State (by 12) despite shooting) 38.6%. Looking back through the KenPom database, which goes back to the 1998-99 season, I found seven total instances including yesterday in which State shot below 40% and won. Wednesday’s mark was the lowest shooting percentage of all seven. The Pack’s second-worst eFG% in a win was 37.3 (Auburn, 2010).

Games in which the team shot sub-35% are rare enough and, winning under that circumstance was unprecedented in the last quarter century of NC State hoops—until yesterday.