Joe Ovies

Talking points: Howell, Leslie lead Pack past Blue Devils

Posted January 12, 2013
Updated January 13, 2013

1. Local old-timers often romanticize the on-court battles of yesteryear between NC State, North Carolina and Duke. What took place inside PNC Arena on Saturday afternoon must have taken them back to that time. NC State and Duke, a matchup of top ACC contenders, lived up to the hype as both squads put on an entertaining back-and-forth contest.

2. That being said, it was a game the Wolfpack needed to win and shouldn't be considered an upset. For starters, NC State had the home court advantage and Duke was missing Ryan Kelly due to a foot injury. Without Kelly, Duke was left with a matchup disadvantage dealing with Calvin Leslie and Richard Howell. NC State upends Duke, 84-76 Slideshow: NC State upends Duke, 84-76

Going into the game, NC State lacked a performance that equaled the expectations foisted upon them during the preseason. Following losses to Oklahoma State and Michigan, players admitted to having their heads in their collective rear end and a breakthrough game had been slowly building since their trip to Madison Square Garden against Connecticut.

The Wolfpack haven't been perfect in their current 10-game win streak, especially when it comes to defense, but they have shown an incredible amount of focus during crunch time. 

3. Duke dominated the glass early thanks to contributions from Amile Jefferson and Josh Hairston, out-rebounding NC State 14-4 and held a 22-15 advantage at halftime. The tide turned when Jefferson fouled out and Mason Plumlee failed to stay assertive under the rim despite only having one foul throughout the second half. Richard Howell finally started doing damage in the paint, grabbing 14 of his 18 rebounds in the final 20 minutes. NC State ended the game with superior 33-31 margin on the boards.   Will Privette Wheelchair court-stormer OK, says 'It was worth it'

4. Speaking of Howell, the senior finished his afternoon 7-of-12 from the field and 16 points. Calvin Leslie had a game-high 25 points, while Scott Wood went 3-for-3 beyond the arc. Lorenzo Brown dished out all of NC State's 13 assists. Each of the Wolfpack's veteran players contributed through their strengths.

5. Along with rebounding, converting at the line had been a shaky proposition for NC State this season. The team made 20 of their 23 free throw attempts, ultimately keeping Duke at a distance down the stretch.

6. NC State's foul trouble in Cameron Indoor Stadium last season was a huge storyline coming out of the loss. Naturally, fans were keeping a keen eye on how the game would be called on Saturday. There were even ridiculous rumors that Karl Hess would make a WWE-style return to PNC Arena and work the game. Turns out Hess didn't show up (and likely won't at all this season) and calls were relatively even until the end. 

Along with Jefferson, Quinn Cook and and Tyler Thornton fouled out for Duke. Earlier in the game, Thornton was part of a double-technical with NC State's Wood after they exchanged some trash talk and a sly elbow.

7. Rushing the court might be played out for some, but as the kids would said, "YOLO!" Especially for Will Privette, who became a viral sensation after he instructed NC State's student body president to push his wheelchair into the middle of the court celebration. 

Privette said as his wheelchair flipped and lost his glasses before Calvin Leslie lifted him out of the madness. Dick Vitale was horrified by the scene unfolding on ESPN. Despite damage to his wheelchair, Privette said "it was all worth it."


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  • randrmomanddad Jan 13, 8:54 p.m.

    "HHA HA HA....when they hit the road reality will hit...same old Wolfpack.!!! I know WRAL... View More

    — Posted by redwolfone

    Capital Broadcasting bought it from a car problem there,but they shouldn't,t be using their media outlet to promote the pack....what kind of news media hire's lawyers to get records from chapel hill to bash carolina...that's the NCAA's job.!!!

  • rsadcox2 Jan 13, 5:08 p.m.

    Talking points:Joe Ovies.

    Had State done a better job of rebounding in the first half, the game would have been a blowout.

  • duane11 Jan 13, 4:52 p.m.

    Best thing that happened to this team was when Ryan Harrow transferred to KY. Their headache... View More

    — Posted by morgannyy

    Exactly!! Harrow was an over rated joke. He thought he was the best guard to play at NC State... View More

    — Posted by Deacons

    sometimes its a good thing when a player transfers. See drew II. Brown is much better than harrow

    — Posted by ACC22

    actually, drew too is second in the nation in assists...yes, the nation

  • 45HEELSFAN45 Jan 13, 4:34 p.m.

    Congrats to State! Always good too see dook lose. State did what was expected of them and they look like the team to beat at the top.

  • 3forme Jan 13, 3:37 p.m.

    FYI...the property that the arena is on and the 80 acres around it are owned by The Centennial Authority...

  • JohnnyVoodoo Jan 13, 2:56 p.m.

    HHA HA HA....when they hit the road reality will hit...same old Wolfpack.!!! I know WRAL owns... View More

    — Posted by randrmomanddad

    congratulations ya mor*n, you get the award for dumbest comment of the week.

  • beckerunc Jan 13, 1:04 p.m.

    Congrats to the Pack !!

  • dragline Jan 13, 1:03 p.m.

    We played a great game ,I knew there would be posts about Duke not having Kelly and not being full potential...So lets wait till we go to Cameron and see what is a new day...ACC play continues....

  • rfred16 Jan 13, 12:45 p.m.

    Kelly wasnt playing! LOL! Just in Kelly cant guard CJ! Please tell me CJ cant guard Kelly the... View More

    — Posted by Toddler10-21 that why ESPN analysts and the game announcers made the point time after time that Duke needed Kelly. Secondly, isn't this the same Kelly that was ACC Player of the Week the week before his injury? Thirdly, check today's N&O...State's own player, Wood said it was a great win, but somwwhat lessened because we didn't beat them at their best with Kelly out. Finally, read the Duke players interviewed about Kelly's absence...Both said it wasn't his scoring that will be missed as much as his defense. I don't think C.J has that kind of game with a 6'11" player's hand in his face all day..All that said, still, State played incredibly well, by far their best game all season. The trick, as the better teams prove time and time again, is can you be consistent, and play at that level every game?? So far, State hasn't done that. Remember the State blowout of Duke a few year's ago??? They brought it that game, but not many others. Duke went on to win the National Championship that year. I am pulling for State to do well, and keep up this level of play. It makes the ACC a much better conference. Hopefull State will win the rest of the games up until the Feb. rematch and Duke, with Kelly playing (hopefully). Then, we will get an idea of the effect of his absence yesterday..Until then, good luck played amazing yesterday.

  • Wolfpackindahizzy4shizzy Jan 13, 12:18 p.m.

    Jefferson whistled for 5 fouls in 12 minutes while the wolfies only committ five the entire... View More

    — Posted by uncsuckz


    he was attempting to cover the most athletic 6'8" player in the country.




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