Tight Games Common Between Pack, Canes

Mark Gottfried and Jim Larrañaga both entered the ACC as head coaches prior to the 2011-12 campaign and the games between their respective teams have often had much at stake.

Mark Gottfried and Jim Larrañaga both entered the ACC as head coaches prior to the 2011-12 campaign and the games between their respective teams have often had much at stake.

The Wolfpack swept the Hurricanes in two hard-fought contests that ultimately played a huge part in determining which of the two bubble teams would earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament.

In Raleigh, C.J. Leslie tracked down an offensive rebound after Richard Howell missed a pair of free throws. Lorenzo Brown then converted a pair from the line and the Canes could not tie the game. The Pack took the lead for good when Scott Wood broke a deadlock with a three-pointer from the wing with a little over a minute remaining in State’s, 77-73, victory.

Earlier that season at NC State outlasted Miami by a nearly identical, 78-73, score at BankUnited Center in Coral Gables. The Pack was led by DeShawn Painter, who finished with 18 points. Wood broke the ACC record for most consecutive free throws made—previously held by Duke’s J.J. Redick—when he buried his 55th straight in the second half. He hit two from the line with 18 seconds left to seal the win.

NC State entered the season as favorites to win the ACC. Miami would ultimately take both the regular season and tournament titles however. Wins against the Wolfpack helped the Hurricanes in both cases.

The two schools faced each other only once during the regular season. The showdown in Raleigh between the 19th ranked Wolfpack and No. 14 Miami would prove to be a classic.

C.J. Leslie finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds and freshman Tyler Lewis, starting at point guard in place of injured Lorenzo Brown, added 16 points and five assists in 36 minutes.

It was a game with wild swings. Miami led by nine points in the first half, while NC State opened up a 10-point advantage after intermission. The Wolfpack led by one with less than 15 seconds remaining when Lewis missed a shot that would have given State some breathing room. It was NC State’s only loss in PNC Arena that season.

In the ACC Tournament Semifinals in Greensboro, Durand Scott torched the Wolfpack for 32 points and Larkin added 23 as the Canes held off a second half rally to defeat NC State, 81-71, en route its first ACC Tournament title. Scott Wood hit six three-pointers, including one with 12 minutes remaining, as the Pack cut a lead that had been as high as 19 down to six.

Scott promptly responded with a three of his own and Miami was never seriously threatened again.

The two schools split a pair of regular season games, each winning on the road. They then faced in the ACC Tournament for a second straight season with postseason ramifications once again.

At BUC, it was a tale of two halves for NC State. Ralston Turner scored 16 points in the first half while T.J. Warren scored 19 of his game-high 27 after the break as NC State held off Miami, 56-55. NC State responded with an upset win at Pittsburgh and entered the ACC Tournament needing at least two victories to secure its third straight berth to March Madness.

The Pack got its revenge—and a chance for further redemption against Syracuse the next day—in a, 67-58, triumph over Miami that was only secured late in the contest. Warren led the Pack with 24 points. Turner added 22—with 16 coming after intermission this time. NC State trailed Miami, who needed a win to have any chance of extending its season, by two points with more than four minutes remaining.

The Pack then went on a 12-0 run to seal the Canes’ fate and book a rematch with the Orange, who was ranked No. 11 in the nation. State’s victory over Syracuse the next day secured the third straight NCAA Tournament appearance under Gottfried.

"NC State, they've already established themselves as a terrific team. They are well-balanced and have great guard play with outstanding 3-point shooters. Their big guys have really come on... kids that are playing better and better."

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