North Carolina State has done so much to improve its stock the past few weeks that the Wolfpack ought to be rolling toward the postseason.
There’s no sense in slowing down now with the home finale coming against Clemson on Saturday afternoon at Raleigh, N.C.
“It’s great energy,” NC State guard Jarkel Joiner said. “Every timeout, we’re talking and communicating. We try not to get too high and stay in the moment and try to just keep it rolling.”
NC State (22-7, 12-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won its past two games against visiting North Carolina and Wake Forest. Joiner matched his season-high point total in those games with 29 in each outing.
Clemson (20-8, 12-5) has plenty of work to do even though the Tigers are one rung ahead of the Wolfpack in the ACC standings.
“I think that our team has hung in there,” Tigers coach Brad Brownell said. “We’ve dealt with some injuries, and guys have kept swinging.”
Hunter Tyson racked up 29 points in Wednesday night’s 91-73 conquest of visiting Syracuse.
That was a much-needed bounce-back performance for Tigers, who lost at lowly Louisville last weekend in a result that caused severe damage to their NCAA Tournament aspirations.
Tyson hit six 3-point shots versus Syracuse.
“It’s just good for our team to see the ball go in,” Brownell said. “We had a nice mix to our game.”
Clemson has racked up a program-record 12 ACC wins, but early blemishes on its docket are hurting the team’s power ranking. The Tigers’ 28 assists in the Syracuse game marked the most with Brownell as coach.
The Tigers ambushed the visiting Wolfpack 78-64 on Dec. 30 behind Tyson’s 31 points.
NC State has doubled its win total from last season, but there’s no suggestion that the task has been completed. The Wolfpack already have their most regular-season wins since the 1988-89 campaign.
“Knowing we’re not finished,” guard Terquavion Smith said. “It’s not the end of the road. We know we’ve got to keep working until that last game and that last buzzer.”
The downside for NC State could be that guard Jack Clark sustained a second-half shoulder injury and didn’t return, so his status could become a topic.
–Field Level Media