Pack drops second straight to Clemson, 63-51

NC State shot just 31 percent from the field and had its worst offensive performance of the season, losing its second-straight game on the road to undefeated No. 12 Clemson 63-51 on Saturday afternoon.

NC State scraped and clawed its way back, turning a seven point halftime deficit into a tie game. Then the Wolfpack let it all slip away.

After tying the game at 33-33 with 16 minutes remaining, No. 12 Clemson used its pressure defense to regain control. The Tigers would convert four straight Wolfpack turnovers into an 8-0 run that sucked the energy out of the visiting Pack. Clemson stretched its lead into double-digits, cruising to a xx-xx win on Saturday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Pack (9-4, 0-1 ACC) put together its worst offensive performance of the year en route to dropping its second straight game, a full 11 points less than the team's previous low of 62 points against Loyola. Offensively, the team did little well, barely cracking 30 percent from the field with 17-of-54 from the field. They also turned the ball over to Clemson (16-0, 1-0) 18 times, as the Tigers full-court press caused a slew of careless passes that either went out of bounds or into the hands of a Clemson defender.

Just one player scored in double figures for the Pack, as Courtney Fells scored 10 points in addition to grabbing seven rebounds. Brandon Costner had nine points before fouling out while Julius Mays came off the bench to score eight. Ben McCauley, the Pack's' second leading scoring for the season, had just four points while Tracy Smith had just three points off the bench.

Neither team could put any points on the board early on , with the Pack starting an unbelievably poor 1-for-15 for the field but stayed close thanks to equally atrocious shooting from the Tigers. Clemson started 2-for-11 but heated up thanks to some easy shots off its constant full-court pressure, stretching its lead to 10 points before the Pack finally started hitting shots. The visitors pulled within four at one point before a rash of turnovers near the end of the half stretched the Clemson lead out to seven.

Still, despite shooting just 21 percent for the half and turning the ball over 10 times the Pack found itself trailing just 24-17 at the half. The margin would have been worse if not for the Wolfpack's work on the glass, out rebounding the Tigers 23 to 16 – minimizing their second chance opportunities and giving the Pack extra looks at the rim.

The Pack battled back to start the second half with the help of a hot-shooting Courtney Fells. The senior hit on back-to-back 3s and on a lay-up as his team erased the halftime deficit, as a Trevor Ferguson lay-up tied the score at 33 all. But Clemson would effectively put the game away from there, going on an 8-0 run that the Pack never recovered from. The Tigers again used its pressure to fuel the run, as the Pack turned the ball over on four straight possessions after managing to go without a give-away for the first six minutes of the half.

After two unsuccessful road trips, the Pack will try to snap its two-game losing streak at home in the RBC Center to face Florida State on Tuesday night. The two teams split last year's meetings, with each team winning on the road.

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