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Short-handed Notre Dame deals NC State another lopsided ACC loss

NC State's Keatts discusses loss to Notre Dame

NC State coach Kevin Keatts after the Wolfpack lost 88-58 at Notre Dame on Wednesday, Jan.3, 2018.
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NC State coach Kevin Keatts after the Wolfpack lost 88-58 at Notre Dame on Wednesday, Jan.3, 2018.

One Notre Dame senior star didn’t play and another suffered a first-half leg injury that kept him on the bench after halftime.

Still, N.C. State looked overmatched in ACC play once again.

Notre Dame’s impressive early barrage of 3-pointers allowed it to open a 15-point first-half lead in an 88-58 ACC basketball win over the Wolfpack at Purcell Pavilion.

The Irish (12-3, 2-0) played their first game since preseason ACC player of the year, all-American forward Bonzie Colson, fractured his foot in practice. He was averaging 21.4 points and 10.4 rebounds.

Then Notre Dame lost starting guard Matt Farrell late in the first half. Farrell averages 16.4 points and team-best 5.4 assists.

But the Wolfpack (10-5, 0-2), coming off a 78-62 loss at No. 25 Clemson last Saturday, fell behind in the first half and never challenged the Irish.

Sloppy with the ball on its end, the Wolfpack left too many of Notre Dame’s remaining shooters free for open 3-pointers on the other end. Notre Dame made 11 3-pointers, shooting 44 percent from behind the arc. The Irish shot 61 percent -- hitting 9 of 18 3-pointers -- in the first half when they jumped to a 41-26 lead and took a 48-36 lead at intermission.

Sophomore guard TJ Gibbs scored 22 points, hitting 3 of 6 3-pointers, to lead the Irish. Freshman guard DJ Harvey scored 17 points, hitting 3 of 4 3-pointers, and junior guard Rex Pflueger scored 16 points for the Irish.

Notre Dame’s hot shooting, combined with N.C. State’s turnovers, doomed the Pack to another ACC loss. Playing its fifth game in a row without suspended starting point guard Markell Johnson, the Wolfpack turned the ball over 15 times. Nine of those turnovers came in the first half when Notre Dame built its double-digit lead.

Allerik Freeman (five), Torin Dorn (four) and Braxton Beverly (three) were NC State’s worst offenders in the turnover department.

The Wolfpack shot 36.7 percent. Allerik Freeman scored 13 points to lead N.C. State while Lennard Freeman added 10.

NC State senior forward Malik Abu said it's up to him to help turn the Wolfpack around after an 88-58 loss at Notre Dame.

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