NC State proves themselves in win over Duke
Posted January 12, 2013
Usually a noon tip-off is synonymous with slow team starts or tardy fans to fill arena seats. That was not the case Saturday at PNC Arena when No. 20 NC State played host to the No. 1 team in the country.
Team and fans alike were ready for a showdown with the top-ranked rival from just down the highway, after all, this year was supposed to be State’s year.
NC State fans had been waiting for this opportunity and could not have brought more energy to the arena. Students lined up prior to sun rise, barely containing their excitement once inside.
"Our crowd was unreal. Our students started getting out there at four o’clock last night and this morning," said NC State head coach Mark Gottfried. "Our crowd was a lift today. It got loud in there, really loud."
The players fed off of the ear-piercing cheers as the game tipped. A defensive stop and a Scott Wood three to open play nearly blew the roof off.
Duke’s Mason Plumlee showed his size would be an issue, but Richard Howell showed he wasn’t backing down.
The Blue Devils continued to answer each Wolfpack surge until an 8-0 run by Duke and a five-point lead stirred nerves around the arena.
Minutes later, Wood regained control and momentum for the Wolfpack with a four-point play. As he drained a three, David Thornton fouled him – a double technical called on some extra-curricular activities canceled out and an eight-point Duke lead becomes four in mere seconds.
Richard Howell went off after the break, notching a second half double-double. Rodney Purvis grew wings, showing he wasn’t afraid to attack the basket in aerial fashion. Lorenzo Brown continued to prove his worth and Leslie made tough baskets look easy.
Duke may have been without Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry may not have been 100 percent, but a win is a win and the way the team won speaks volumes.
“Our kids played with a lot of heart, their kids played with a lot of heart, they just played a little bit better than we did, hats off the them,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
"I saw the fans getting ready to rush the court and I was like it's about to get crazy in here, I didn't want to smile but I couldn't help it," said Brown.
It may never be that loud in PNC Arena again and fans may not get a chance to storm the court again for a while. But that’s because NC State proved Saturday that they are a force to be reckoned with and they deserve to be in the discussion as the top college team in the country.