by Mike Potter
REYNOLDS COLISEUM/RALEIGH N.C. State is badly in need of a win, and doesn’t have a line of lesser opponents teed up anytime soon.
The Seminoles have won two straight, including an 86-65 rout of archrival Miami a week ago.
Meanwhile the Wolfpack (8-10, 0-6), which came up dry despite playing very well in its last two home contests against Duke and UNC, has lost five straight games.
Today the tough times continue for the Wolfpack, as the Seminoles come back to prevail 82-74.
NCSU leads 35-33 at the break after a nip-and-tuck half with seven ties and three lead changes.
Kody Burke has 10 points at the break while Leonor Rodriguez paces the Seminoles with 12.
NCSU shoots 42.4 percent to FSU’s 32.4 and leads the rebound battle 25-22 at halftime.
The first 15 minutes of the second half belong to the Wolfpack. State’s biggest lead is 12, at 63-51 on a Markeisha Gatling layup with 9:23 to go, before things start to go South.
It’s 70-64 on a follow jumper from Marissa Kastanek with 4:43 left, and 70-69 when Gatling collects her fifth foul.
FSU continues its 14-0 run, making it 78-70 on a pair of Morgan Toles free throws that are her only points of the game with 29.8 seconds to go, and by that time the game is put away.
Rodriguez paces the Seminoles with 21 points, followed by Alexa Deluzio’s 19 with 15 of those after halftime.
Chelsea Davis adds 18 points and 11 rebounds while Chasity Clayton chips in 12 points.
Burke paces the Wolfpack with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Kastanek adds 14 points and Krystal Barrett and Myisha Goodwin-Coleman 10 each.
NCSU shoots 47.7 percent — including 53.1 after halftime — to the Seminoles’ 39.7, and wins the rebound battle 40-37. But the Wolfpack commits 24 turnovers to FSU’s 19, and goes 7-for-11 from the line compared to the visitors’ 33-for-40.
They said it …
FSU coach Sue Semrau: “What a heck of a basketball game. I hate it for Kellie and her kids. They’re extremely talented and play hard and they just haven’t caught some breaks. I’m glad they didn’t catch one today. For us, this one was about growth and character and heart. (Deluzio) made a huge jump in her career today.”
NCSU coach Kellie Harper: “I’m proud of our team and their competitiveness. I thought they really battled. Obviously we’re struggling to finish games. We haven’t done it in the ACC. I hurt for our players and our staff, because we continue to believe we can compete. We have to find a way to make it happen. We don’t have a choice. … We need a little blind faith that we’re going to win games. We ain’t got a choice.”
Deluzio: “I haven’t been very good about coming back after tough first halves. I’m a perfectionist and I keep stats in my head. To go to the second half with a clean slate and just concentrate on winning the game was big.”
Barrett: “We need to just play together as a team better and find a way to get stops when we need them. … I thought I played with a lot of confidence today, better than in a lot of games.”
What does it all mean?
That FSU is as solid as advertised, while the Wolfpack desperately needs to beat Virginia Tech on Thursday night to turn things around.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Davis’ layup from Deluzio with 58 seconds left to put FSU up 75-70.
NCSU: Lost 6.
FSU: Won 3.
NCSU leads 25-13.
NCSU vs. Virginia Tech, Thursday, 7 p.m.
FSU vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, 7 p.m.