Notre Dame got off to an incredible start thanks to their willingness to get points in the paint and good defensive play that forced bad shots by NC State. The Irish were up 11-0 after about 6:30 played before the Wolfpack knocked in a three to get on the board. The Irish pushed a lead up to 23-6, but as the first half went on — the Wolfpack fought back.
Notre Dame took a big hit early with the loss of Nate Laszewski to a knee injury, and when Brey pulled Paul Atkinson out with two fouls, the Wolfpack went small as well and had an advantage over the Irish going up and down the court. Terquavion Smith went off and scored 15 points in the first half, and the Irish limped into halftime with a 33-28 lead — but all the momentum was on the home team’s side.
That momentum stuck early on in the second half, and after turnovers and bad shots from the Irish, the Wolfpack finally completed the comeback with a one point lead that was extended to three points after a couple of Dereaon Seabron free throws. Trey Wertz provided an answer for the Irish and drained a three on the following possession — and Notre Dame never trailed again.
Notre Dame made the switch to zone defense which caused all sorts of problems for the Wolfpack in the half court offense. Blake Wesley started doing what he does best and used his speed and athleticism whhile dribing to the basket, and Paul Atkinson added 9 of his 15 game points and 4 of his 10 rebounds.
It was another big road win for the Irish who are still sitting at #2 in the ACC after the win. All of this “on the bubble” talk certainly seems premature with a month to go, but every game left on the schedule is of the highest importance for Notre Dame’s postseason destination.