RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts knew the Wolfpack’s chances against No. 16 Duke would start with the play of his dynamic backcourt of Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner.
”You guys can’t be average,” Keatts said he told them recently.
Smith and Joiner responded with the type of confident, fast and aggressive play that only reinforced their coach’s point – and simply overwhelmed the Blue Devils.
Smith scored 24 points and N.C. State jumped all over Duke from the opening tip, rolling to an 84-60 win on Wednesday night in the long-running series between Atlantic Coast Conference neighbors.
Joiner added 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Wolfpack (12-4, 2-3 ACC), who scored the game’s first 15 points and led by 22 by halftime in a shocking romp.
”I thought it was probably the most complete game that we have played the entire year,” Keatts said, ”especially on the defensive end.”
While the Wolfpack pounced, the Blue Devils (11-4, 2-2) watched early shots roll off the rim or be swatted away. They compounded their problems by piling up turnovers in a game that quickly got away.
First-year coach Jon Scheyer tried plenty: swapping lineups, burning two early timeouts, using some zone defensive looks. Nothing worked other than a modest push to within a dozen late in the first half.
”It was hard to point to one thing, right?” Scheyer said. ”It was basically everything.”
N.C. State shot 47% and made 10 3-pointers, nine coming from Smith and Joiner. More impressively, the Wolfpack scored 30 points off turnovers while repeatedly pushing the tempo.
One highlight came when Joiner hit a corner 3-pointer just before the halftime horn with Duke’s Jeremy Roach defending on his hip. Joiner gave a yell toward the courtside fans, then giddily backed away to join his teammates heading to the locker room with a 44-22 lead.
And early in the second, Joiner and Smith got loose together in transition. First Joiner hit Smith for a right-wing 3-pointer on the break, then did it again – only this time falling to the court while delivering the pass.
No matter. Joiner still raised both arms while laying on his back near the baseline as though signaling the shot was good as it swished through the net. By that point, the Wolfpack led 54-28 with 17:05 left and never let Duke closer than 22 again.
”It’s about being consistent,” Joiner said. ”Me and T have got to show that every single night.”
Freshman Kyle Filipowski scored 14 points to lead Duke, which shot 40% and just 5 of 15 from 3-point range. Duke also committed a season-high 21 turnovers, many fueling the Wolfpack’s 25 fast-break points.
Duke: It was a jarring result for the Blue Devils in Scheyer’s debut season as the successor to retired Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski. The team with 11 new players and the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class never looked comfortable, confident or capable of consistently creating quality looks as the deficit ballooned. It amounted to a second rough showing on the road, the other coming in a loss at Wake Forest days before Christmas.
”They came out and did what they were supposed to do and imposed their will at home,” said captain Jeremy Roach, who had four points on 0 for 8 shooting. ”We came out soft, timid, weren’t attacking the rim, weren’t getting open.”
N.C. State: This one can ease some of the frustration amid ACC losses to now-No. 12 Miami, Pittsburgh and Clemson. Beyond the Smith-Joiner backcourt, big man DJ Burns Jr. had 18 points – and the home crowd chanting his name – to provide interior balance. More impressively, the Wolfpack did it without starter and rebounding leader Jack Clark, who is out indefinitely after suffering a core muscle injury at Clemson.
ROUGH ROAD IN RALEIGH
Duke has lost six of nine games at N.C. State dating to 2010, five of which were by double-digits. PNC Arena was also the site of Duke’s first-round upset loss in the NCAA Tournament to 14-seed Mercer in 2014.
Duke: Plays a second straight road game, traveling to Boston College on Saturday.
N.C. State: Visits Virginia Tech on Saturday.
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