NCAA Top 25: No. 1 Duke falls to NC State

NC State fans pull out all the stops to distract Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon (#14) during a free throw attempt.

The NCAA unbeaten squads are dwindling daily as No. 1 Duke was upset by neighbor university, No. 20 ranked North Carolina State, 84:76 on Saturday, in Raleigh, NC. The loss leaves No. 2 Michigan the current sole possessor of an unbeaten record at 16-0. Michigan faces No. 15 Ohio State on Sunday, in Columbus, so they do have their work cut out for themselves.

Visiting squad Duke ran off nine unanswered points mid-way through the first half to build a 15:21 lead and eventually extending it to their highest margin, eight-points, 19:27. From there NC State whittled the lead down over the next few minutes, drawing even with 4:25 to play before the break. The Wolfpack was able to get a gap of four points, but settled with two, 41:39, heading into the dressing rooms.

To open the second half, NC State went on an 8:2 run over the first four minutes to jump out to a 49:41 advantage. Duke was able to cut the deficit to one mid-way through the second half on a Seth Curry three-ball, 58:57. The close game was short-lived though as the hosts ran off nine straight to push their lead to 10, 67:57.

Curry dropped in two more from long-range to help keep Duke in the contest and pulling to within four, 71:67, with 3:49 to play, but that was as close as the Blue Devils would get with the Wolfpack connecting on nine of 10 free throws inside of one minute to play to keep their lead, and score one of the biggest upsets of the NCAA season, 84:76.

C.J. Leslie dropped in 25 points for NC State to lead the way for the hosts. Richard Howell added 16 points and 18 rebounds, Scott Wood dropped in 14 points, and Lorenzo Brown added 12 points and 13 assists to the win.

Curry led Duke with 22, even after sitting out the last few minutes due to an injury to his left ankle. Quinn Cook added 17 points and seven assists, and Mason Plumlee contributed 15 points and 11 rebounds.

“I thought our guys, they accepted the challenge,” said NC State coach Mark Gottfried. “It’s one of those (games) where it comes to a point where mentally you say, ‘I’m going to get it done’ and they’re not going to go away. … They’re not going to lay down for us. Our guys mentally showed a lot of toughness.”

“I thought we played our butts off,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Our kids played with a lot of heart, their kids played with a lot of heart, and they were a little better than we were.”

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