One day, the fans of the North Carolina State Wolfpack hope that their team can win in ways which don’t elevate their blood pressure levels. One day, N.C. State fans hope that their team can win without drama or soap-operatic absurdity. Never boring but rarely responsible, North Carolina State basketball remains an entirely unpredictable thrill ride.
The good news about Wednesday night’s home game against the Boston College Eagles: It didn’t end in disaster.
North Carolina State blew a 14-point second-half lead to an opponent with a coach — Jim Christian — who will probably soon be fired. Boston College will play in the preliminary round of the ACC Tournament, the Tuesday of Championship Week in which the ACC’s six worst teams will try to prolong their sad-sack seasons. North Carolina State should be good enough to run Boston College out of the building. Instead, it watched the Eagles mount a massive second-half run and nearly win the game at the end of regulation, but Ky Bowman’s game-winning shot missed.
North Carolina State got to overtime and regrouped, scoring the first seven points of the extra period and tucking away an 89-80 win which averted a catastrophe. A loss would have dealt a huge blow to N.C. State’s NCAA Tournament hopes. Now the Wolfpack can breathe a lot easier… but they know they can’t let down their guard.
“I told our guys that going into every game from this point on, we’ve got a small margin for error,” Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said. “I felt like that every game could possibly come down to the last second… Give our guys credit, we fought our way through.”
Boston College seemed dead midway through the second half, but it then held North Carolina State scoreless for eight and a half minutes. A 16-0 Eagle run turned the game N.C. State hoped it would have — a comfortable victory — into the festival of stress Wolfpack fans have become far too familiar with over the years.
N.C. State can’t break its bad habits just yet, but losing a game is the worst habit of all. On Wednesday, give the Wolfpack this much: They avoided their worst habit and made use of the second chance they received in overtime against Boston College.
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