The #11 Syracuse Orange (27-5, 14-4 ACC) fell to the NC State Wolfpack (27-5, 14-4 ACC) 66-63 in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals on Friday night.
Coming off a double bye in the ACC Tournament, Syracuse looked to get off to a good start. C.J. Fair started the game off with a thunderous one-handed jam. Syracuse led 7-6 at the under 16 T.V. timeout.
Syracuse turned up the defense as Fair stole a pass and took it coast-to-coast slamming it down with both hands. The Wolfpack were held without a field goal for over five minutes as the Orange led 11-7. Both the Orange and the Wolfpack struggled to find a good rhythm on offense. N.C. State hit three field goals in a row, tying the game at 13 with under eight minutes left in the first half.
Trevor Cooney sparked an Orange surge hitting a corner 3-pointer. Tyler Ennis followed it up with a steal on the N.C. State inbounds pass, taking it all the way for a two-handed slam. The Wolfpack answered with a five point run of their own. N.C. State led 20-19 at the under four T.V. timeout.
ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren finished the first half strong hitting three out of his last four shots finishing the half with 11 points to go with his three rebounds. Syracuse struggled shooting only 26% from the field which is the main reason they trailed at the half by the score of 28-25.
During a back and forth start to the second half, we saw a few easy buckets for N.C. State mixed with a 3-pointer from Ennis that had the game tied at 35 with 15:43 left to play.
The Wolfpack come out of the T.V. timeout strong going on a seven point run started by a Warren dunk. N.C. State led 46-39 with 11:57 left to play.
After falling to a ten point deficit, the Orange got two quick buckets. The first coming from a Jerami Grant bucket and the other from a Michael Gbinije dunk coming off an Ennis steal. Syracuse trailed 50-44 with 10:14 left in the second half.
Ennis started getting hot hitting two 3-pointers. Rakeem Christmas got in on the action with a monstrous alley-oop by cutting the Wolfpack lead to just one with 5:25 left to play.
After free throws cashed in by both teams, both offenses traded buckets with a N.C. State banked 3-pointer by Ralston Turner and a 15 foot jumper from Grant. Warren answered for the Wolfpack hitting a jumper of his own extending the Wolfpack lead to three with 1:41 left to play in the game.
Gbinije hit a jumper cutting N.C. State's lead to just one. After two clutch free throws from Warren, Syracuse had several chances to score but could not convert as N.C. State defeated Syracuse by the score of 66-63.
Ennis finished with 21 points, Grant had a double double featuring 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The Orange now wait for their seeding on Selection Sunday.