TAMPA, Fla. – NC State avenged its worse loss of the season Thursday night, beating seventh-seeded Duke 85-80 in overtime, as upsets ruled the day in the first round of the ACC Tournament at the St. Pete Times Forum.
The Wolfpack, which lost to Duke 79-56 on Jan. 20 at the RBC Center in the two old rivals’ only meeting of the regular-season, got inside scoring from redshirt freshman Brandon Costner and sophomore Ben McCauley to break away after the two teams were tied at 70 at the end of regulation.
Costner led the way with a career-high 30 points, including a three-point play at the beginning of overtime. First-year coach Sidney Lowe’s team scored on its first nine possessions of overtime after missing four consecutive shots to win the game at the end of regulation.
The 10th-seeded Pack (16-14 overall) advances to play No. 2 seed Virginia in Friday’s 7 p.m. quarterfinal contest.
After Duke missed its first shot of the extra period, Costner was fouled on a made layup. He converted the three-point play, and the Pack never trailed in overtime.
“We wanted to get off to a good start in the overtime,” said Costner, who made 10 of his 17 shots on the night and 10 of his 11 free throws. “Josh McRoberts gave me the lane and I took it. I got the three-point play and it gave us a lot of energy and a lot of confidence going into the overtime.”
Costner, who also had seven rebounds and three assists, was the Pack’s hero of the first half and overtime, scoring 16 of his points before intermission and another seven in the extra period. His 30 points were the second most ever scored by an NC State freshman, trailing only the 35 points Ernie Myers had at Duke in January, 1983.
However, senior Engin Atsur, who was unable to play in the first meeting this year because of a hamstring injury, kept the Wolfpack in the game by scoring all 21 of his points in the second half.
“We were patient and we let the game come to us,” Atsur said. “We didn’t care who shot the ball, and in the first half they were switching the pick-and-roll, so we tried to throw back the ball and go inside to Brandon and Ben, and we were successful.
“They made some adjustments in the second half and so did we, so I was able to make some shots in the second half.”
McCauley added 15 points and 10 rebounds in the contest, the fourth of the season.
The Blue Devils, winners of seven of the last eight ACC Tournaments, played the game without freshman Gerald Henderson, who was suspended by the ACC after a hard foul against North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough in the regular-season finale. The loss was the first time Duke fell in its opening ACC Tournament game since 1997, when the top-seeded Blue Devils lost to the No. 8 seed Wolfpack in Herb Sendek’s first season as head coach. The Pack advanced to the tourney finals that season, where it lost to North Carolina.
“The effort of the NC State kids was terrific,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Costner was just extremely difficult to stop. And then Atsur’s ability to have a calming influence no matter what amount of pressure we put on him was big. He hit some huge shots for them; probably the biggest was when we took the lead by one and he hit a 3-point shot to put them ahead 70-68.
“Big-time kids do things like that. He played like a real senior.”
With the victory, Lowe joined Everett Case and Press Maravich among first-year Wolfpack coaches who won at least one game against the other three schools in the Big Four: Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest.