Lesson learned? Apparently.
Last night, playing the role of the visitor in Boston College's first ACC home game, 18th-ranked State took the lead six minutes into the game, led by four at halftime and used an 11-0 run at the start of the second half to blow the game open – then cruising to a 78-60 victory over the No. 15 Eagles.
After the game, quick research showed this is believed to be State's biggest ACC road win ever over a ranked team.
"Today, we got off to another good start but in the second half we picked it up a little bit more," Tony Bethel said after the Pack placed five players in double figures and used tough defense to force BC stars Craig Smith and Jared Dudley into a combined 11-for-34 shooting night. "This is real big for our team spirit and now we can carry it on the rest of the season."
This was a night of high expectation for BC and its fans. Even though the Eagles had already lost to Maryland and Georgia Tech to start 0-2 in the new league, this was the first home game – and it was against a team it had beaten in all three previous meetings.
Not on this night, though.
"We didn't play a bad game on Saturday," said NC State head coach Herb Sendek. "We were disappointed we didn't play better and you have to credit North Carolina, they were outstanding. We're certainly not happy with the way we played – we knew we can play better than that."
So, the message before last night's game was simple.
"Let's just make sure when we walk back here at the end of the game we feel good about the effort we gave," Sendek said.
No problem there.
The Wolfpack (13-2, 2-1 league) shot 63.4% from the field, 58.8% from 3-point range and 84.2% from the foul line. They out-rebounded a strong rebounding team 33-31 and turned the ball over only five times after coughing it up 10 times in the first half.
And they made life miserable for Smith and Dudley, BC's lifeline inside. Dudley wound up with 16 points and Smith 14, but there was garbage late.
Basically, BC was dreadful on its home floor, drawing boos from a crowd that emptied out with five minutes left and drawing the ire of its coach.
"As much as I hate to say it, this tape goes in the trash – there's nothing in it for us," said Al Skinner. "It was quite evident we were a half-step slow."
All night – and NC State made them pay. The Eagles only had six turnovers and did grab 21 offensive rebounds, but they shot 29 percent from the floor (21-for-65). State needed only 41 shots to get the job done.
Cedric Simmons led the balanced attack with 17 points on 6-for-6 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the foul line. He also grabbed seven rebounds and blocked a couple of shots – and hounded Smith down low all night long.
"I thought Ced was a true difference maker for us tonight," said Sendek. "You really under-value his contribution if you (look) just on the stat sheet – at both ends of the floor. And one of the best parts about it is he was able to stay out of foul trouble (two fouls in the game)."
Cameron Bennerman scored 14 points, Engin Atsur and Andrew Brackman 13 apiece and Bethel 12. Atsur also chipped in six rebounds and five assists.
Asked if this is the most balanced team he's ever coached, Sendek said, "We have a balanced team. We've had balanced teams before, some more than others. This team is balanced."