DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Freshman Cassius Stanley scored 14 of his 18 points after halftime as No. 12 Duke took over in the second half to beat North Carolina State 88-69 on Monday night.
North Carolina State guard Markell Johnson (11) and Duke guard Cassius Stanley (2) chase the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Monday, March 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Fellow rookie Vernon Carey Jr. added 17 points for the Blue Devils, who shot 63% after halftime and had a run of 17 straight scoring possessions to build a big lead. Duke also dominated the Wolfpack on the glass (46-27), while its move away from its man and pressure defenses to deploy a zone late in the first half took N.C. State out of its early aggressive rhythm.
It was quite a reversal for the Blue Devils (24-6, 14-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who lost the first meeting 88-66 in Raleigh less than two weeks ago for Mike Krzyzewski’s most lopsided loss to an unranked opponent in his four decades leading the program. It was also a welcome response after back-to-back losses on the road.
Devon Daniels had 14 points and nine rebounds to lead the Wolfpack (18-12, 9-10), who shot 50% in the first half – with most of that production coming before Duke switched to the zone to slow the penetration by Daniels and Markell Johnson.
N.C. State managed one field goal over the last four minutes of the first half against the zone, then shot just 38% after halftime.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack offered a best-case-scenario glimpse of potential with that 22-point romp against the Blue Devils in the first meeting. But they followed that with a tough loss to now-No. 7 Florida State then a second loss to last-place North Carolina, then had to claw past the ACC’s next-to-last team by beating Pittsburgh at home. That sequence captured why N.C. State is on the bubble and still trying to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume, and this one sure would’ve helped.
Duke: The Blue Devils were coming off losses at Wake Forest and Virginia, marking their second set of back-to-back losses since the start of January. Then there was the matter of that ugly first meeting with the Wolfpack, with Krzyzewski saying afterward that his team was “never there.” There certainly was no lack of edge after halftime, most notably when Stanley leapt skyward for a high pass from Wendell Moore Jr. and threw down an acrobatic one-handed slam that had Cameron Indoor Stadium rocking midway through Duke’s 17-possession run.
N.C. State: Instate ACC opponent Wake Forest visits the Wolfpack on Friday.
Duke: The Blue Devils host rival North Carolina on Saturday.