Then they put away the Fighting Irish with a 3-point barrage. Ilian Evtimov finished with 15 points and the Wolfpack connected on 8-of-16 3s as they rolled to a 61-48 victory over Notre Dame.
Despite playing its fifth game in nine days, North Carolina State (5-0) looked energized. It forced 15 turnovers, routinely beat the Irish to loose balls and played with passion.
Notre Dame (2-1), in contrast, looked dazed. Torin Francis led the Irish with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but leading scorers Colin Falls and Chris Quinn did not score in the first half and only combined for 14 points -- less than half their 33-point average.
The Irish shot 37.3 percent from the field, including 3-of-18 on 3-pointers. The 48 points also was the fewest scored by Notre Dame since a 72-48 loss to Marquette on Nov. 21, 1997.
North Carolina State started taking advantage of Notre Dame's misery midway through the first half. After Russell Carter made a layup to give the Irish a 16-15 lead with 7:24 left, the Wolfpack went on a 16-1 run over the next 6:06 to build a 31-17 lead.
The Irish didn't make another basket until Luke Zeller's 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to cut the lead to 31-20 at halftime.
The Wolfpack stuck to the script in the second half. Evtimov and Engin Atsur opened with back-to-back 3-pointers, igniting a 10-2 spurt that made it 41-22 with 16:43 remaining. Notre Dame only got as close as eight the rest of the way.