NC State defeats Notre Dame 77-70 to get first ACC road win

CorrespondentJanuary 7, 2014 

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    Percentages: FG .414, FT .781. 3-Point Goals: 4-13, .308 (Turner 2-3, Barber 1-2, Lee 1-4, Lewis 0-1, Warren 0-3). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots: 5 (Vandenberg 2, Anya 2, Barber). Turnovers: 8 (Warren 3, Washington 2, Lee, Vandenberg, Lewis). Steals: 5 (Freeman 2, Warren, Turner, Lee). Technical Fouls: None.

    Notre DameMinFG-AFT-AOR-TAPFPT

    Percentages: FG .409, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 7-24, .292 (Connaughton 5-11, Vasturia 1-2, Atkins 1-8, Jackson 0-1, Burgett 0-2). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 6 (Connaughton 2, Beachem, Burgett, Knight, Auguste). Turnovers: 11 (Atkins 3, Jackson 3, Sherman 2, Vasturia 2, Connaughton). Steals: 2 (Jackson, Sherman). Technical Fouls: None.

    NC State393877
    Notre Dame363470

    A—7,721. Officials—Mike Eades, Les Jones, Jeffrey Anderson.

— Standing directly behind guard Anthony “Cat” Barber as the first-half clock edged toward zero, North Carolina State men’s basketball coach Mark Gottfried had a pretty good view of the freshman’s 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 Saturday’s home loss to Pittsburgh in the conference opener.

“It’s 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 Dame’s 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. State’s win? That would be the 23-9 edge the Wolfpack enjoyed in bench scoring. Warren entered the game as the ACC’s 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.

“We’ve 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 State’s 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.”

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