C.J. Leslie scores 25 points, No. 20 NC State upsets No. 1 Duke
Raleigh, NC, United States (4E Sports) – North Carolina State lived up to its billing as ACC pre-season favorite as the No. 20 Wolfpack handed No. 1 Duke its first loss, 84-76, Saturday at PNC Arena.
Junior C.J. Leslie scored a game-high 25 points while senior Richard Howell tallied his ninth double-double of the season with 16 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Wolfpack (14-2, 3-0 ACC) to their 10th straight win.
The winning streak was the Wolfpack’s longest since 1988-89, the last time that North Carolina State was 3-0 to start the ACC season.
Three other Wolfpack scored in double figures, with Scott Wood contributing 14, junior Lorenzo Brown adding 12 and freshman T.J. Warren scoring 10.
Brown also had 13 assists for his fifth double-digit assist total of the season and third double-double of the year.
“I challenged our team in the huddle in the second half,” said second-year head coach Mark Gottfried. “I asked them if anyone else was going to get a rebound. Rich looked up at me and said, `Don’t worry, Coach, I’ll get them all.’
“Defensively and on the boards, he was off the charts. That was a grown man’s game, playing against good interior people,” he added.
The Wolfpack shot 50.8 percent from the field and held Duke to just 44.8 percent from the floor.
“Give NC State all the credit, I thought they played a heck of a game and I thought we fought like crazy to give ourselves a chance to win,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “State played outstanding basketball.”
Seth Curry scored 22 points, Quinn Cook had 17 and Mason Plumlee had 15 markers and 11 caroms for the Blue Devils, who dropped to 12-1.
The Blue Devils missed third-leading scorer Ryan Kelly, who was out indefinitely after sustaining a right foot injury. The 6-11 Kelly is averaging 13.4 points per game.
In the second half, Curry scored five straight points to bring Duke within 58-57, but Leslie and Purvis sparked a 9-0 blast to put the Wolfpack ahead by 67-57, with 7:44 left.