Madison, Wis. – The NC State men’s basketball team led for a majority of the game, but 22nd-ranked Wisconsin was able to take the lead late and hold off the Pack to win 79-75 Tuesday night inside the Kohl Center.
With the loss, NC State falls to 6-1, while the Badgers improve to 6-1.
Markell Johnson led the Pack with a career-high 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting, while CJ Bryce finished with 18 points – 14 in the second half – and seven rebounds. Torin Dorn added his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
After Wisconsin opened the game with a bucket, the Pack rattled off the next six points to take an early lead. NC State would lead for the next 12 minutes until Wisconsin retook the lead 23-22 on a D’Mitrik Trice three-pointer. The Pack went back ahead on its next possession before another Wisconsin three-pointer gave the Badgers a 25-23 lead with 6:13 left in the half. The Pack only allowed Wisconsin one field goal the rest of the half as NC State closed the opening 20 minutes with a 14-4 run to take a 36-29 lead into the half.
Johnson closed a strong opening half with a step-back three-pointer.
The junior guard opened the second half the same way he ended the first as his three-pointer on the first possession of the half gave NC State a 10-point lead, 39-29. Dorn had a jumper on the next possession to give NC State a 12 point lead, 41-29, one minute into the second half. The Badgers responded with five quick points to cut the lead to seven as both teams started the second half hot offensively.
The first five minutes of the second half featured a run where both teams hit three-pointers on six consecutive possessions. The Pack again went on a mini-burst, going on a 9-2 run, to take a 57-47 lead with 12:49 to go. The Badgers answered with a 10-2 run to cut NC State’s lead to 59-57 with 9:10 to go, but NC State again responded to the Badgers run as a 6-0 NC State run gave the Pack an eight-point lead, 65-57, with 7:34 to go.
Wisconsin answered NC State’s 6-0 run with a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to one, 65-64. NC State had one final mini-run, a 4-0 spurt to give the Pack a 69-64 lead with 4:57 to go, but the Badgers finally seized momentum after that as Wisconsin scored eight of the next 10 points to take a 72-71 lead on an Ethan Happ basket with 2:19 to go.
The Badgers' lead was its first since the 6:13 mark of the first half.
NC State retook the lead on a Bryce basket with 1:46 to go, but would never lead again as the Badgers closed the game by scoring seven of the final nine points.
NC State led for 31:51 in the game, while Wisconsin held the lead for 3:42.
Wisconsin finished the game 11-of-21 from three-point range as Trice and Aleem Ford each hit four from long range.
NC State won the battle on the boards, 36-30. The Pack has now out-rebounded six of its seven opponents this season.
The Pack returns to action Saturday when it plays in the HoopHall Miami Invitational against Vanderbilt. Tip is scheduled for 5 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.