It’s finally over.
Clemson mercifully ended N.C. State’s season on Tuesday afternoon in the first game of the ACC tournament. Jaron Blossomgame (22 points) and Shelton Mitchell (19) led the 12th-seeded Tigers to a 75-61 win over the Wolfpack.
N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried was fired almost three weeks ago but chose to finish out the disappointing season. The Wolfpack lost 10 of its final 11 games to close out Gottfried’s tenure with a 15-17 record.
The Tigers (17-14) will face No. 5 seed Duke at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the second round. Mitchell made 7 of his 11 shots and added six assists.
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Sophomore wing Maverick Rowan led N.C. State with 14 points. The Wolfpack shot just 37.5 percent and went nearly 10 minutes in the first half between field goals.
Freshman guard Dennis Smith Jr., in likely his last college game, missed his first five shots and couldn’t quite get engaged in the game. He finished with seven points.
Even with N.C. State’s problems in the first half, a 3-pointer by Rowan at 5:45 cut Clemson’s lead down to 24-21. But the Tigers were able to close the half with late push for a 39-28 lead.
The Tigers used a 17 to 10 advantage on the offensive glass to stretch out its lead to as many as 17 in the second half.
It was the first time in Gottfried’s six seasons he didn’t win at least one game in the ACC tournament.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio