After an eight-day break for Christmas, North Carolina State and Boston College resume play Wednesday night when the Wolfpack host the Eagles in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup at Raleigh, N.C.
Both teams are coming off pre-holiday wins. The Wolfpack (5-1, 1-0 ACC) stunned then-No. 17 North Carolina 79-76 while the Eagles (2-5, 0-1 ACC) ended a four-game losing streak with a 78-62 victory over Maine on Dec. 22.
Boston College lost its conference opener to Syracuse earlier this month, and coach Jim Christian was happy to see his Eagles put forth a strong defensive effort in the bounce-back win over Maine. The Eagles forced the Black Bears into 24 turnovers and held them to 41.1 percent shooting for the game and 33.3 percent in the first half.
“The thing we have not done well this season is maintain defensive energy when shots are not going in,” said Christian, whose team shot an ordinary 44.4 percent from the field overall and only 28.1 percent from 3-point range. “Guys get too concerned about themselves, too concerned about their own shot, which is natural.
“But today we took that step forward as a group, and that’s step one.”
Jay Heath led the Eagles in scoring with 16 points. CJ Felder added 14 points and Wynston Tabbs and James Karnik scored 10 apiece.
Devin Daniels paced the Wolfpack’s win over the Tar Heels with 21 points, and freshman Shakeel Moore was in double figures for the first time as a collegian with 17 points. Manny Bates added 14 points, grabbed a team-high-tying seven rebounds and blocked five shots.
“He did a great job rebounding the ball,” NC State coach Kevin Keatts said of Bates. “He protected the paint for us, and then, obviously, he did a great job finishing around the basket.”
Keatts singled out Daniels for his play, noting how the senior kept himself involved in the game even while resting on the bench by cheering on his teammates.
When the Tar Heels cut an early 17-point deficit down to 63-62 on a 3-pointer with 8 1/2 minutes remaining in the game, Daniels responded with a three-point play and then a layup to start a 14-2 Wolfpack run.
“One of the things I’m going to take away from this game is Devin Daniels took a big step forward as far as (being) a leader today,” Keatts said.
–Field Level Media