Until this evening, North Carolina State hadn’t won a basketball game at Duke since 1995. That 1994-95 Duke team finished with 18 losses, the most in school history, and since then, the Blue Devils have dominated the Wolfpack. N.C. State may have fallen behind Duke and UNC (and maybe Wake Forest) in the state’s pecking order, but tonight, they defied their recent history and beat Duke in a close one, 84-82. Cameron Indoor Stadium is a famously difficult place to play, and yet the Wolfpack were led by a freshman tonight.
Dennis Smith Jr. went for 32 points on just 18 shots, and he added six assists and two steals for good measure. The North Carolina native has put up double digits in every single game of his college career, and he saved his career-high for one of N.C. State’s toughest games of the season. His 32 are also the most points scored by a freshman since J.J. Redick had 34 in 2003. Check out this slick spin move.
Smith had 18 in the first half, none prettier than his half-ending three-pointer. DraftExpress has him as the third overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, and with range like this, it’s not hard to see why teams would be intrigued by him.
Duke had a nine-point lead with under seven minutes remaining, but N.C. State went on a 20-5 run to take a six-point lead with 1:30 remaining. Duke had a chance to tie it up with a few seconds left, but instead they bungled it.