In Wednesday’s ACC action, Clemson survived Notre Dame and Georgia Tech surprised NC State. The scores were nearly identical - 64-62 and 63-61 - but the games were not and the consequences were definitely not.
State blew their game. There’s no other way to put it. First, Tech shouldn't have been in it but even though they were, State lost in a particularly bad way: Torin Dorn put State up 61-60 on a three pointer with 6.1 left. Did we mention it was Senior Night and Dorn is a senior?
After he hit that, State somehow let Jose Alvarado go the length of the court and hit James Banks for a dunk with :02 left. Devon Daniels fouled him too and Banks hit the shot.
State missed the desperation three and lost the game.
And possibly an NCAA bid.
There’s been a lot of painful reaction from State fans about this online, not to mention Luke DeCock of the News & Observer, who seems unusually upset by the shocking turn of events, and also pointing out, correctly, that State seriously hurt its NCAA argument.
Let’s have a moment for a bit of perspective here.
In three previous seasons, Kevin Keatts has taken UNC-Wilmington and NC State to the tournament. At Wilmington he gave both Duke and Virginia very tough games before bowing out.
At State, in his first year, he finished tied for third in the ACC and made the tournament.
This year is still TBD when it comes to State’s final finish and whatever the post-season turns out to be. But come on.
He’s in his second year. He’s starting four guards. He lost his best big man when Omer Yurtseven transferred to Georgetown for a more cosmopolitan environment and he lost another promising big man when Ian Steere was lost for the seasons with an injury.
Wyatt Walker has been okay but he’s limited. Markell Johnson missed three games and most of another with a back injury. He didn't play well when he came back either, and don’t forget that Eric Lockett was suspended after domestic violence charges and quite rightly has not rejoined the team.
Keatts has handled that well but he lost a member of his rotation and State has been 3-3 since Lockett’s suspension.
Keatts is in his second year at State. He had a limited roster at the beginning of the season and it’s more so now.
State fans who jump all over him are insane. This guy has reset the program and its expectations in a big hurry. The Wolfpack should be doing everything possible to make sure he sticks around at least long enough to see how good he can be.
We can think of at least four reasons: Les Robinson, Herb Sendek, Sidney Lowe, Mark Gottfried.
UCLA has reportedly already expressed interest. If State fans are stupid enough to alienate a promising young coach they don’t deserve him.
Clemson has a chance to make a late run that would help their chances and winning at Notre Dame will help.
Prentiss Hubb hit a layup for the Irish then Shelton Mitchell split a one-and-one and Clemson was up 63-61. TJ Gibbs missed a three pointer and Nate Laszewski got the rebound and was fouled. He made his first then Clemson iced him and he missed his second.
Notre Dame put Clyde Trapp back on the line and he split his then John Mooney’s desperation three missed at the buzzer.
Clemson moves to 18-12 with the win and has a home game with Syracuse to close out the season on Saturday.
As for NC State, the Pack travels to Boston College.
Currently both teams are 8-9 and would play in the 5th game in the ACC Tournament.
Given the game in Raleigh, where Braxton Beverly hit a buzzer beater, and the fact that both teams will probably need to keep winning, that game could be unbelievably intense.
By the way, Raleigh native Moses Wright took special satisfaction in Tech’s victory.
- Instead of storybook finish, NC State puts postseason hopes in jeopardy
- Georgia Tech stuns NC State, puts a dent in the Wolfpack’s NCAA tournament plans
- NC State’s Daniels after loss to Georgia Tech: ‘We wanted this game for Torin... we owe him one’
- NC State’s Kevin Keatts on loss to Georgia Tech: ‘I don’t think we were sharp for last couple of days’
- NC State’s Kevin Keatts talks about how the loss to Georgia Tech might affect NCAA Tournament chances
- Georgia Tech pulls upset of N.C. State
- Why Moses Wright may be coming into his own for Georgia Tech
- Banks’ Slam Lifts Tech Past NC State, 63-61
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