NC State barely tops Wake Forest in ACC Tournament opener

WASHINGTON (WNCN) – N.C. State and Wake Forest looked to brighten up two terrible seasons as they started the 2016 ACC Tournament.

The Wolfpack needed someone else to help carry the load aside from Cat Barber and they got that from Maverick Rowan.

Rowan outscored Barber 24 to 22 and had a career-high six three pointers against the Demon Deacons.

“It’s a great feeling it’s hard to describe. It’s always a great feeling when you see the ball going through the hoop,” Rowan said.

The Pack will need to really shape up and play clean ball against Duke Wednesday. One small area to clean up would be free throw shooting. After hitting just 37.5 percent from the line, the Pack improved that average to 65.2 percent.

“We’ve been playing with a lot of confidence even though our record doesn’t show it. We know how good we are, and everybody is going to contribute and everybody is going to play hard. It was a big win for us it feels good,” Cody Martin said.

Wake Forest had their chances and led the Pack for the majority of the game but timely fouls and big shots by the Pack doomed the Deacs.

Wake gets to regroup this offseason and work to improve from the Jeff Bzdelik years.

N.C. State will now face their second Tobacco Road foe in as many days. Duke will be waiting for the Pack Wednesday with a chance to face Notre Dame Thursday on the line.
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Caleb Martin sinks one of two free throws, giving Wake Forest a chance at the end but it is not meant to be for the Deacs.

The Wolfpack will move on to face Duke at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

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Wake Forest fould Cat Barber and he sinks both. The Deacs then fly around on a frantic play that ends on a Devin Thomas layup.

The Pack leads by two with just 18 seconds left.

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N.C. State’s Cat Barber hits two big foul shots to put the Pack up by five with 35 seconds left.

But wait! Mav Rowan fouls Mitchell Wilbekin during a three-point attempt.

Wilbekin sinks all three and cuts the Wake Forest’s deficit to just two points with 33 seconds left.

What will N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried draw up?

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Since being tied at 63, N.C. State has gone on an seven-point run.

That run was followed by a few frantic possessions by both teams.

Mav Rowan put up an ugly three, followed by an equally as ugly shot by Cat Barber.

Those two doozies were followed up Codi Miller-McIntyre making a layup while being fouled.

Miller-McIntyre makes his free throw, cutting the Wolfpack lead to 70-67.

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A blocking foul on Wake Forest’s Bryant Crawford could be huge. N.C. State freshman Mav Rowan had just drained a three to put the Pack up 66-63 and the Deacs rushed to answer only to foul.

The Pack needed someone other than Cat Barber to show up and Rowan has done just that.

He has 22 points to Barber’s 18. The Deacs did a nice job limiting Barber in the first half but he has come alive in the second half.

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No matter who wins this grinder, they will just be looking to ruin Duke’s seeding in the NCAA Tournament. There is no way either of these teams has the gas tank to play five-straight days at a high level.

But first, the Pack seized a fragile three-point lead only to have it taken away immediately by Wake.

Knotted at 63 with four minutes left.

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The Wolfpack just showed their season in one play. Wake’s Mitchell Wilbekin missed a long three and no one on the Pack blocked out. This then allowed Rondale Watson to make an easy putback layup on the rebound.

N.C. State is only down one though, 48-47 with 9:40 left.

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There is little doubt N.C. State losing Terry Henderson cost them a few games this season. But being a fundamentally unsound team has cost them even more.

Sloppy passes and non-existent defense? You’ll see it all from the Wolfpack.

Back-to-back threes from Wake’s Rondale Watson and Bryant Crawford has tied it up at 41.

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N.C. State made some free throws! Both fans got on their feet in the Verizon Center.

State seems to be heating up. The Pack is playing more aggressive, mainly Cat Barber.

That aggressiveness has built a six-point lead for the Pack, 41-35 with 17 minutes left in the game.

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With Wake Up by one at the half, it’s easy to see that the Deacs have been able to take Cat Barber out of his comfort zone. Barber is 4 of 14 with just 9 points in the half.

Wake Forest has spread the wealth around with their 34 first half points. Bryant Crawford leads Wake with 9 points of 4 of 9 shooting.

Wow. The Pack is shooting 37.5 percent from the charity stripe during the first half. That is beyond bad, even for the Pack. Anyone remember N.C. State falling to St. Louis in the tournament a couple years back?

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Another first half update: Both fans in the Verizon Center are enjoying a display of jut not bad 3-point shots but bad basketball, too.

The Deacs are smothering Cat Barber, forcing him to take shots he doesn’t seem to like.

And N.C. State is back up to their old tricks of missing free throws.

It is 24-23 Wake Forest over State with 4:09 left in the half.

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First media timeout update: A slow and somewhat sloppy start for both teams. Which isn’t a huge surprise.

What kind of shorts did Adidas give N.C. State this March? It appears they added some neat claw marks to last year’s tournament uniforms.

N.C. State freshman Mav Rowan is decided to bring back the silver slippers he wore against Boston College. Maybe he’s hoping to help the Wolfpack barely beat another team from the bottom the ACC at the buzzer.

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In the age of super conferences, playing the first game in a conference tournament is not a good thing.

N.C. State will need someone other than Cat Barber to step up to get a win.

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N.C. State opens the ACC Tournament on Tuesday against Wake Forest as the Wolfpack tries to turn around a disappointing season.

The Wolfpack is only 15-16 overall, and 5-13 in ACC play, despite a marvelous season from All-ACC pick Cat Barbour. State has lost 12 of its last 15 games and needed a last-second shot to beat league doormat Boston College.

The Pack is in jeopardy of missing the NCAA Tournament after four straight appearances and faces a long, uphill struggle in the new, lengthy ACC Tournament.

Nonetheless, the Pack faces a Wake Forest team that is a mere 11-19 and only 2-16 in ACC play. The teams split in the regular season, with N.C. State winning 99-88 in Raleigh Feb. 13.

The tournament moves to Washington in a move in which the ACC awarded the national capital the event shortly after the University of Maryland voted to league the league on Nov. 19, 2012.

The tournament is in Washington for the first time since 2005. In November of 2013, the ACC announced the league would put the tournament in Washington, even though the Terps were leaving.

The future sites for the tournament include:

  • 2017: Brooklyn
  • 2018: Brooklyn
  • 2019: Charlotte
  • 2020: Greensboro

North Carolina, the ACC regular-season champion, begins play on Thursday at noon.

Duke, the No. 5 seed, plays Wednesday at 2 p.m.

The ACC Tournament finals are Saturday night at 9 p.m.

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