Wake Forest comes back to upset #18 NC State
Travis McKie scored 16 points in the victory over NC State.
By Luke McCann
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Wake Forest fans have went through a few rough seasons so to breakthrough with an upset victory over NC State was plenty of reason to flood the floor in Winston Salem tonight.
The Wolfpack was able to push the tempo, getting out in transition with freshman T.J. Warren and Rodney Purvis finishing from the Lorenzo Brown assist. Up by double digits at the half, it looked like everything was going to follow the script. Especially considering the fact that Scott Wood and C.J. Leslie was benched for a big portion of the first half due to foul troubles.
To the Deacons credit, they came out with fire in the 2nd half, a desire and belief that they could get the job done. They kept hanging around, chipping away at the lead as freshman Devin Thomas seemed to get every rebound and finish at the rim at will. C.J Leslie and Richard Howell watched the young freshman in what seemed to be disbelief as the little known Thomas out worked the two seasoned veterans.
N.C. State finally displayed some fight, pressuring full court and turning the young Deacons over into easy baskets. In crunch time, they called on CJ Leslie to go to work and like most of the night, he was a bit off on his attempt. Wolfpack freshman T.J. Warren got one final desperation heave that was wide left and the floor was quickly rushed by starving Deacon fans who have wanted this success for so many years in the past.
For Wake Forest, this gives the young club the reason to believe that better days are ahead and they can compete with anyone in the ACC. For N.C State's Mark Gottfried, it leaves him with more questions about his talented squad.
"It's frustrating. We've got to be better than that and we've got to have more poise than we've had," said N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried.
The Wolfpack has many concerns to address moving forward. How to get C.J. Leslie returning to the level of play that warranted pre-season ACC Player of the Year recognition might be priority one. In addition to Leslie, the Wolfpack seemed to be slow to loose balls and could not match the competitive fire that Wake Forest brought.
For the first time in many years, Wake Forest got a victory over one of the schools down the road. In the bigger picture, they may have gained the confidence to go toe to toe with any school in the conference which is a giant step forward for the young Deacs.