NC State's Gottfried: I am not going to lay down
Wake Forest and N.C. State passed each other on the ACC road Saturday, like two cars headed in opposite directions.
The Demon Deacons, behind star forward John Collins, are making a push for their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2010.
The Deacs (15-10, 6-7 ACC) looked the part of contender on Saturday afternoon with a 88-58 never-in-doubt win over the Wolfpack at Joel Coliseum.
Then there was N.C. State (14-12, 3-10 ACC). The Wolfpack is in a freefall with five straight ACC losses.
Collins (23 points) scored on three uncontested baskets to open the game as Wake jumped out to a 21-10 lead in the first nine minutes and never looked back.
Wake led by as many as 33 in the second half, with Keyshawn Woods chipping in 19 points, while sophomore guard Torin Dorn (14 points) was the only Wolfpack player who got anything going.
It got ugly early for N.C. State. Freshman guard Dennis Smith Jr. airballed his first shot attempt on the first possession of the game and then only took five more shots the rest of the half. Smith finished with 17 points.
Junior forward Abdul-Malik Abu had nine points in the first half and made 4 of 6 shots but the rest of the team was 7-of-23.
State’s first half could be summed up by senior guard Terry Henderson’s missed alley-oop dunk at 5:01 with the Deacs already up 31-18.
It was N.C. State’s fifth straight loss in Winston-Salem and worst ever on the road in a series that goes back to the 1910-11 season. The Deacs took a 44-24 lead by the half and then rode Collins in the second half for their first season sweep of N.C. State since the 2004-05 season.
Wake started the day at No. 31 in the RPI, thanks to a strong strength of schedule (No. 13 in nonconference games). There are bigger games ahead for the Deacs, a trip to Duke next Saturday and a visit from Louisville on March 1, chief among them.
For N.C. State, there’s only more frustration.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio