SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Standing directly behind guard Anthony Cat Barber as the first-half clock edged toward zero, North Carolina State mens basketball coach Mark Gottfried had a pretty good view of the freshmans heave from near midcourt.
I said that might go in, Gottfried said. It gave us a lift. It really did.
Barber scored 16 points, including the long 3-pointer to close the half, to help the Wolfpack to a 77-70 victory over Notre Dame Tuesday night at Purcell Pavilion. Barber also hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch to help N.C. State improve to 11-4 overall, 1-1 in the ACC.
T.J. Warren topped the Wolfpack with 17 points while Desmond Lee and Ralston Turner each chipped in 12 as State rebounded from Saturdays home loss to Pittsburgh in the conference opener.
Its a great bounce-back win, Gottfried said. I liked the fact that our guys showed some resiliency and bounced back. We had good balance in our scoring. Just a good team win for our group.
Notre Dames Garrick Sherman led all scorers with 21 points, while Pat Connaughton added 15 and Eric Atkins 14. The Irish, just three days removed from upsetting Duke in their first-ever ACC game, dropped to 10-5, 1-1 in league play.
N.C. State led by nine early in the second half, but every time it looked like the Wolfpack would be able to create some distance between them and the Irish, Notre Dame seemed to have an answer.
A big reason for N.C. States win? That would be the 23-9 edge the Wolfpack enjoyed in bench scoring. Warren entered the game as the ACCs leading scorer, and Notre Dame held him to six points below his average. It was the balance, however, that Gottfried identified as a huge contributor to the win.
Weve got a great scorer in T.J., Gottfried said. But we also need some other guys to step up and score.
Warren, too, appreciated the help.
It makes it a whole lot easier, Warren said.
The Wolfpack hit 24 of 58 from the field (41.4 percent) while limiting Notre Dame to 27 of 66. The Irish were playing their third game without leading scorer Jerian Grant, who is done for the season because of an academic matter.
State looked like it might be able to pull away early in the second half when it built a nine-point cushion at the 16:05 mark, but Notre Dame kept it close.
With the smallish crowd temperatures hovered near 0 for the second straight day trying to urge on the home team, the Irish could have to climb closer when. But senior forward Tom Knight missed a dunk and later committed his third foul.
Notre Dame tied it at the nine-minute mark when Connaughton connected on another 3-pointer, but Warren responded with a pair of baskets to build States lead to four again.
It stayed close the rest of the way until the Wolfpack were able to ice it in the final minutes. Gottfried, whose team flew into South Bend on Monday and was met with the frigid temperatures, was happy to get out of South Bend with the win.
Any time you win you feel better about yourself, said Gottfried, whose team hosts Virginia on Saturday. It sure does make the plane ride home a lot better too.