Behind a raucous crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina, the N.C. State Wolfpack got their biggest statement win of the season on Saturday afternoon, topping the nation’s No. 1 team.
Duke, who had begun the season at 15-0, fell for the first time all season by a final score of 84-76.
The story of the game was the Wolfpack’s offensive balance and the star power of junior forward C.J. Leslie, who led the way with 25 points in the victory.
The Blue Devils hit the road on Saturday, their No. 1 spot and undefeated record on the ropes without senior forward Ryan Kelly, who is out indefinitely with a foot injury. In addition, Seth Curry left the ball game late with a leg injury of his own – a huge blow to the Blue Devils’ attempt at closing the late deficit. Curry had 22 points in the game before being forced back to the locker room.
The celebration is on in Raleigh, as the Wolfpack improved to 14-2 overall and 3-0 within the ACC. While many began to speculate earlier this week on just who would be able to challenge Duke atop the conference, N.C. State made their presence felt even more so in regards to that discussion, despite two early bumps in the road during the non-conference slate.
The upset victory comes as a mid-season culmination for N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried, who has done a terrific job with the Wolfpack since taking over the program prior to last season. Expectations, especially after Saturday’s statement victory, continue to be on the rise.
As for Duke, there is no reason to panic or even think anything other than the Blue Devils suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday. The biggest concern moving forward however, is the health of both Kelly and Curry, as it has become even more apparent how much more dangerous this squad is with them on the court.
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS