Day turned to night in Greensboro. A team from down the road in Raleigh made some noise thanks to two special players.
#7 NC State vs. #10 Miami
This one felt different from the beginning. The electricity had arrived in the Coliseum as the Wolfpack darted out to a 7-2 lead. The atmosphere was awesome.
Miami was definitely keying on ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren, but the man could still find a way to score. He’s just that good.
But the Hurricanes and Head Coach Jim Larranaga were throwing everything and everybody at him. Slowly but surely, the Canes were climbing back with some defensive tenacity.
Darius Adams was making some nice moves on the offensive end for Miami as the Wolfpack struggled to run their own offense, missing shot after shot.
With 7:19 to play before halftime, NC State held a narrow 13-12 advantage. Ralston Turner was leading the scoring charge for the Wolfpack with six points. The game’s pacing was much more to Miami’s liking.
It was looking more and more like the first team to sixty points may win the game. At the half, the Wolfpack held a 26-22 advantage.
Impressively, NC State only committed a single turnover in the entire first half of action. But the shooting woes were evident for the Wolfpack, who only shot 32 percent from the floor. The Canes shot a more respectable 42 percent as a team.
Miami led in total rebounds 18-12 and scored 16 of their 22 points in the paint.
More importantly, however, the trampoline dunking show at halftime was on point! You just had to turn a blind eye to all the traveling.
If anybody likes a good churro, might I suggest grabbing one at the Coliseum? Very delicious – had too many to count!
Meanwhile, NC State and Warren came out blazing in the second half and claimed a 32-24 lead just 2.5 minutes into it.
But Miami bounced right back with Larranaga barking out orders from the sideline. He’s really a heck of a coach, that guy. He’s a battler, and his players, at least in this contest, were taking after him.
The game was really stagnant, at least as far as scoring. I caught a dude falling asleep a few rows back from me. He woke up a few minutes later and really didn’t miss a thing.
But alas, a winner had to be found. Turner was a major player. Let’s say he was Robin to Warren’s Batman. And “Batman” displayed some soft touch to get a couple more baskets to fall, but the Canes went on a late 9-0 run full of guts and effort. But it wasn’t quite enough. The Wolfpack eeked out the victory and a spot opposite Syracuse in Friday’s quarterfinal round.
FINAL: NCSU 67 – UM 58