Wow, talk about action.
The 'Noles came out firing on all cylinders in the first half, playing their best basketball in two or three years. The defense was smothering, holding NC State to .722 points per possession and creating turnovers on over 22% of possessions. It was truly some Junkyard Dog defense.
FSU turned the missed shots and turnovers into attacking offense, scoring 10 points off turnovers and 18 points in the paint. At one point the Seminoles led by 16 with 3 minutes left. NC State made a mini-run, but Bookert made sure they wouldn't go into the half with some momentum and FSU took a 12-point lead into the locker room.
Then came the second half.
FSU didn't play all that poorly, but NC State played incredibly. Despite a short bench, the Wolfpack wouldn't back down. Led by a supreme individual effort by Cat Barber, NCSU scored almost at will, hitting big shot after big shot.
For the half, NC State scored 1.42 points per possession, but more than 10 minutes into the half it was up around 1.75 points per possession. And despite FSU shooting over 50% from the floor in both halves, the lead shrank to two on multiple occasions. NC State shot 7-14 from three in the second half, with many coming late in the shot clock and contested.
But the young 'Noles are growing up. Devon Bookert, Malik Beasley, and Dwayne Bacon all hit big shots at crucial situations and, unlike two weeks ago against Pitt, FSU never relinquished the lead. A Bacon jumper with 15 seconds left effectively ended things, and the 'Noles got a third straight win, 77-73.
Hamilton managed the minutes brilliantly on a short rest and nine guys played at least 11 minutes--and all nine scored. Bacon led with 20 on 8-17 shooting and Beasley hit double figures again, going for 15 points, 6 boards, and 3 assists.
Cat Barber was electric, playing 40 minutes and finishing with 31 points on 10-17 shooting. If you haven't ever seen him play live, goodness gracious. He's nicknamed "Cat" for a reason. Barber was supplemented with 24 combined points from the Martin twins, including 4-8 from three by Cody Martin.
With the win FSU moves to 15-7 overall and gets back to .500 in ACC play at 5-5.