Survive and advance? NC State tops No. 11 Duke 74-69; 10th-seeded Wolfpack headed to ACC semis

North Carolina State guard Casey Morsell (14) passing the ball past Duke center Kyle Filipowski (30) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

North Carolina State guard Casey Morsell (14) passing the ball past Duke center Kyle Filipowski (30) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — DJ Horne scored 18 points, including two clutch free throws with 15 seconds left, and North Carolina State ousted No. 11 Duke 74-69 in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Thursday night.

Kyle Filipowski had 28 points and 14 rebounds for second-seeded Duke (24-8), but N.C. State big man D.J. Burns Jr. kept him frustrated in the second half as the Wolfpack refused to yield. Tenth-seeded N.C. State will face third-seeded Virginia in Friday’s semifinals.

After winning three games in three days already, the Wolfpack need two more to secure an improbable automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“We talk about our conditioning and how it pays off for us,” coach Kevin Keatts said. “When you look at those three games that we played, honestly, we’ve looked like the more fresh team than anybody.”

Duke heads into the NCAAs on a sour note after dropping its regular-season finale at home to rival North Carolina and then losing its ACC Tournament opener after receiving a bye into the quarterfinals.

Duke trailed the entire second half but had one last chance to steal the game thanks to a bizarre play with 30 seconds left. With his team ahead by five, N.C. State’s Ben Middlebrooks missed a dunk and then grabbed at the ball while hanging on the rim. Jared McCain made a technical foul shot for Duke, and although N.C. State (20-14) received possession, Mohamed Diarra missed two free throws and Filipowski cut the lead to two with a layup.

But Filipowski fouled out with 15 seconds left, and Horne’s free throws made it 73-69.

“I just wanted the ball,” Horne said. “It’s winning time.”

This is the earliest Duke has exited the ACC Tournament — not counting COVID-19-related cancellations — since a quarterfinal loss to Notre Dame in 2016. Duke was trying to become the first team to repeat as champion of this event since the Blue Devils won three straight from 2009-11.

Duke went on a 9-0 run in the first half that included a layup, a steal and another layup by Filipowski, and then a pass from the big man to Mark Mitchell for a dunk that put the Blue Devils up 28-24. But then Filipowski was called for his second foul and exited with 5:26 left.

N.C. State closed the half strong for a 35-32 advantage, then scored the first six points of the second.

“N.C. State is playing the best basketball they’ve played probably,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said. “They’re talented. When you’re playing in the postseason, teams don’t want to go away. You have to make them go away.”

Duke was down five with 1:46 remaining when Mitchell went to the line for the Blue Devils. He missed both free throws, and Burns backed Filipowski down at the other end and scored with his left hand.

“You’ve got to really see the reality of it and see that every team is really fighting for their lives,” Filipowski said. “We just have to want it more than any other team that we play against.”

BIG PICTURE

N.C. State: Don’t look now, but the Wolfpack are surviving and advancing. They were the better team in the second half, and their reserves outscored Duke’s 21-0.

Duke: Poor outside shooting hurt the Blue Devils. They went just 5 of 20 from 3-point range while N.C. State was 7 of 16.

UP NEXT

The Wolfpack are one win away from a berth in the title game. The only double-digit seed to reach the ACC Tournament final was N.C. State, when it lost to North Carolina in 2007.

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