Friday, March 12, 2010


N.C. STATE 59, CLEMSON 57 – Oliver Purnell must be exasperated with North Carolina on one hand and delighted on the other.

The Tigers haven’t won in Chapel Hill since the Titantic sunk, but this year when they would have been a lock to break the drought, their one game against the Heels was in Littlejohn. On the other hand, the “man bites dog” story of UNC’s dreadful season has steered much media attention away from what has to be considered a terribly disappointing season for Clemson. Yesterday’s loss made that painfully obvious.

That said, last night, a different North Carolina team was Purnell & Co.'s undoing.

N.C. State’s Tracy Smith had 19 points and eight rebounds in what many saw as an improbable first round win.

Ending a day of upsets, the 11th-seeded Wolfpack (18-14) built a double-digit lead early in the second half and withstood a late rally to continue their surprising late-season surge. NC State, which has won four of five, will face third-seeded Florida State on Friday in the quarterfinals.

The sixth-seeded Tigers (21-10) got 17 points and eight rebounds from Trevor Booker, but he got little help. Clemson shot 39 percent from the field, 56 percent from the foul line and committed 15 turnovers in the early exit.

To read more in the Raleigh News & Observer, click here.

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