The NC State Wolfpack looks to remain undefeated in conference play on the road against a Clemson Tigers team that is ranked nineteenth in the nation. NC State is 1-0 against ranked opponents (79-76 win against at the time seventeenth ranked UNC) while Clemson is 2-1 in conference play.
A battle of one-loss ACC teams took place in Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, South Carolina on January 5.
The NC State Wolfpack (6-1) traveled to South Carolina for their first road game in ACC play. They take on a Clemson Tiger team (8-1) that is the highest-ranked team in the ACC right now at nineteenth in the nation.
The Wolfpack is led by guard Devon Daniels who leads the team in points per game (16.5), rebounds per game (5.4), assists per game (3.4), and steals per game (2.1).
On the other side, the Tigers are led by forward Aamir Simms who leads the team in points per game (12.6) and rebounds per game (5.8). NC State’s one loss was an 80-69 game against the Saint Louis Billikens. Clemson’s one loss was a 66-60 game against the Virginia Tech Hokies.
NC State came out with an early 10-2 run that gave them a 14-10 advantage 8 minutes into the game. The Tigers and Wolfpack were able to keep it neck and neck with a score of 20-20 through 12 minutes of play. A 6-0 run for the Pack would give them a 26-20 lead only a minute later.
Clemson came back to make it a one-possession game before halftime but a 5-0 run in under a minute right before the half gave the Pack a 39-32 lead. This 7 point deficit was the largest for Clemson at halftime all season. Daniels led the Pack at the break with 10 points and 4 rebounds. Nick Honor had a great half coming off the bench with 8 points. Simms for Clemson struggled with having 0 points during the first half.
Clemson was not going down without a fight though, making it a one-possession game again within 4 minutes of play. Honors was a big part of the Tiger’s hot start to the second half with 8 of Clemson’s first 10 points.
It took 30 minutes of gameplay for Simms to get his first points but a layup by Aamir put him in the scoring column. After trading baskets back and forth, the Wolfpack were able to break through with a 6-0 run that gave them a 7 point lead with 6 minutes left in the game.
Then with 4 minutes left in the game, Jericole Hellems for NC State fouled out. Clemson was down 6 points but gained momentum with a big dunk by Jonathan Baehre. Clemson would continue to claw back and make it a 3 point game with over a minute left. Honor makes a huge three with 38 seconds to tie the game for Clemson. Then Simms comes up big for Clemson with a steal with 12 seconds left. Clemson opened up the floor for Nick Honor, but he was blocked by Shakeel Moore.
After a miss by Moore, Clyde Trapp gives Clemson a 64-62 lead, their first lead since 8-7 very early in the game. After two made baskets by both teams, DJ Funderburk makes a three-pointer for NC State and gives the Wolfpack a 1 point lead.
The Wolfpack weren’t able to expand their lead due to 2 straight turnovers by Daniels. Simms capitalized on those turnovers with two buckets for Clemson that gave the Tigers a 3 point lead.
With a minute left the Pack cut the deficit down to 2 points from a made free throw by Moore. Honors answered big with a layup to make it a 4 point game with 50 seconds left. Daniels got to the free-throw line for NC State and make it a 2 point game.
NC State needed a stop to have a chance with little time left, but Aamir Simms had other ideas and made a hook shot to give Clemson a 4 point lead with 10 seconds left. Clemson won the game 74-70 in overtime.
DJ Funderburk led the Pack in scoring with 20 points and 7 rebounds with Daniels not far behind him with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Nick Honor had a huge game for Clemson off the bench and led all players with 21 points and also had 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Even though Simms did not have a big game scoring points (only 8 points), he made his presence felt elsewhere with 7 rebounds (4 of them being offensive rebounds), 4 assists, and 2 steals. NC State looks to bounce back from the close loss against Miami at home on Saturday, January 9. Clemson looks to continue their hot streak against UNC on the road on Saturday, January 9.