NC State blows out Boston College for important ACC win
By Ken Powtak
BOSTON (AP) — North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts’ team played like it was hungry for a key road win.
So, the Wolfpack headed out for some dessert on the way to the airport.
C.J. Bryce scored 14 points, Torin Dorn added 12 and Devon Daniels had 10 to lead N.C. State to a much-needed 73-47 victory over Boston College on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m going to enjoy this and get some ice cream like we do after every road win,” Keatts said.
Asked if it’s when the team gets back home, he said: “No, we have to stop. Sometimes (those running) the plane will get mad at us because we stop. They threaten to leave us.”
It’s a tradition Keatts said he started when he coached at North Carolina-Wilmington.
The Wolfpack (21-10, 9-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped a two-game losing streak as they enter the league tournament as a projected bubble team for the NCAA tourney.
Ky Bowman had 14 points for Boston College (14-16, 5-13), which has lost five of six.
“I thought it was the worst effort we’ve put in all year long,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “We played with no passion on Senior Day, which is sad.”
N.C. State won the first meeting of the season in overtime on Feb. 20 in Raleigh, North Carolina. This one didn’t have any suspense from the midway point of the opening half.
“I think it was good for us to get a win of that nature, running away like that and just really show what we can do,” Dorn said. “We’ve been in a little slump, as of late, so it was good to play like that.”
Trailing 13-12 midway into the half, N.C. State went on a 19-2 run over a 6 ½ minute stretch. Jericole Hellems started the spree with a 3 from the top of the key.
Daniels and Braxton Beverly also added treys in the run as the Wolfpack held BC to just one basket in over 7 minutes. BC ended up shooting just 29.6 percent (8 of 27) in the first half.
The Wolfpack led 41-24 at halftime and took complete control with a 15-2 spurt early in the second.
N.C. State handled BC’s attempt to press easily in the second half, getting layups and good looks in transition, making any shot at a comeback moot.
N.C. State: Being a bubble team, this game was key for its NCAA tourney hopes. A win in the league tournament next week may be needed to improve the Wolfpack’s resume.
Boston College: The future of Christian and star guard Bowman will be the story of the postseason and offseason. In his fifth season, Christian’s squad struggled, at times, with injuries and consistency this season, winning once on the road in ACC play and losing a couple of late leads in losses at home. There’s a very good chance Bowman, who led the team in scoring, will enter the NBA draft after testing the waters following last season. A message was posted on his Twitter site Friday night that said he could possibly be playing his last game at Conte Forum.
DON’T TELL HIM
Keatts said he didn’t want to know where the team planned to go for ice cream.
“We’re very superstitious,” he said. “I can’t tell you that my coaches haven’t picked out a spot. But they should never tell me that because they could jinx me on that.”
BC honored the 1966-67, 1967-68 and 1968-69 teams for strong runs in the NCAA and NIT tourneys. The 1966-67 squad was the first-ever to make an Elite Eight.
Along with the ugly loss on Senior Day, the Eagles had two players hurt and another that didn’t play due to a late injury.
BC forward Nik Popovic, the team’s second-leading scorer at 14.5 points per game, injured his left knee in the second half, limped to the bench and didn’t return.
Forward Steffon Mitchell went down hard, was shaken up and left the game for a while. Jared Hamilton was sidelined with what Christian called an Achilles’ injury.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack ended up in eighth place in the league and faces Clemson at the ACC tournament on Wednesday.
Boston College: Finishes in 11th place in the league and plays Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
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