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NC State rides strong interior play to upset win over No. 2 Duke

NC State fans storm the court after victory over Duke

Watch as NC State fans storm the court after the Wolfpack upset the Duke Blue Devils at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.
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Watch as NC State fans storm the court after the Wolfpack upset the Duke Blue Devils at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.

N.C. State conjured up homecourt magic once again on Saturday night to bag another big upset.

Having suffered blowout losses in its first two ACC road games, the Wolfpack used strong interior play to shoot 55 percent in the second half in a 96-85 win win over No. 2 Duke before a sold-out crowd at PNC Arena.

N.C. State had dropped its first two ACC games in lopsided fashion, suffering a 78-62 loss at Clemson and an 88-58 loss at Notre Dame.

But the Wolfpack was a far better offensive on its home court. Pounding the ball inside to its trio of big men allowed N.C. State to shoot 51 percent.

Omer Yurtseven scored 16 points, Lennard Freeman 13 and Abdul-Malik Abu 10 for N.C. State (11-5, 1-2 ACC).

It’s the second win N.C. State has logged over a top-five team this season. The Wolfpack beat then No. 2 Arizona 90-84 on Nov. 22

After big loss to Notre Dame the Wolfpack knocks off number two ranked Duke in front of a packed house.

Duke (13-2, 1-2) shot 51.7 percent but hit just 3 of 15 3-pointers and never led in the second half. Marvin Bagley III had 31 points and 10 rebounds for Duke.

N.C. State built a 75-66, with 6:47 to play.

Having trailed the entire second half, Duke attempted a comeback when Bagley scored inside and Gary Trent turned a turnover into a layup to cut N.C. State’s lead to 79-76 with 3:59 to play.

But Braxton Beverly drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:44 left. After Bagley hit two free throws, Torin Dorn’s 3-pointer from the corner with 2:03 to play put the Wolfpack comfortably in front 85-78.

Beverly drew a foul after stealing the ball and hit two free throws with 1:48 left giving the Wolfpack an 87-78 lead.

Watch a timelapse of the celebration of players and fans after the NC State Wolfpack upset the Duke Blue Devils at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.

Duke, which had been up by 11 in the first half only to fall behind by as many as eight in the second half, cut N.C State’s lead to 69-66 with 8:20 to play.

The Wolfpack, though, responded with six points in a row to build its largest lead of the game. Jump shots by Allerik Freeman and Dorn followed by Beverly’s drive for a reverse layup gave the Wolfpack a 75-66 lead with 6:47 to play.

After erasing the 11-point first-half deficit to lead 43-41 at halftime, N.C. State pounded the ball inside to convert high-percentage shots after halftime.

The Wolfpack made six of its first nine shots of the half, with Yurtseven converting two for dunks, to take a 55-47 lead with 16:11 to play.

When Duke dominated play inside early to build a 27-16 lead, N.C State appeared on its way to a third consecutive lopsided loss in ACC play.

Up by seven with 1:04 left in the game, NC State's Torin Dorn makes a three-pointer as he is being fouled by Duke's Javin DeLaurier. Dorn made the free throw, putting the Wolfpack up by 11, effectively putting the game away.

But, unlike losses to Clemson and Notre Dame, the Wolfpack mounted a counterattack.

While Duke went scoreless on six consecutive possessions, N.C. State scored 15 points in row. The Pack scored 12 of them over a 1:47 stretch and took a 31-27 lead on a Yurtseven jumper.

Duke responded with a 10-2 run, fueled by strong play inside. Bagley scored a pair of baskets during the stretch, and Gary Trent added baskets on a pair of strong drives to the basket.

But N.C. State closed the half in solid fashion, with Yurtseven scoring the six of the Wolfpack’s final 10 points before halftime.

Twice in the final minute Yurtseven rebounded Wolfpack misses to score. His final rebound basket with eight seconds left gave N.C State the 43-41 halftime lead.

NC State's Torin Dorn talks about the Wolfpack's upset victory over the Duke Blue Devils at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.

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