Duke tops No. 6 North Carolina State 69-58 for 2nd victory over ranked foe in 4 days

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Taina Mair scored 19 points and Duke beat No. 6 North Carolina State 69-58 on Sunday night, the Blue Devils’ second victory over a ranked team in four days.

“It’s not easy to grow in the midst of the ACC,” Duke coach Kara Lawson said. “(Our players) are reaping some of those rewards of staying coachable and playing hard. Every week they keep showing signs of growth.”

Reigan Richardson and Kennedy Brown each scored 15 points as Duke (18-9, 10-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) avenged a 15-point loss to N.C. State last month.

Duke led by as many as 22 points and held on to follow Thursday night’s 58-45 win at No. 17 Syracuse. Last Monday, Duke lost at home to No. 16 Notre Dame.

“It wasn’t perfect tonight, but I’m proud of how they executed,” Lawson said.

Aziaha James scored 15 points, River Baldwin added 14 and Saniya Rivers had 13 for N.C. State (23-5, 11-5), which had its hope of staying in contention for a share of the ACC regular-season title dashed. The Wolfpack lost consecutive games for the first time this season after falling at North Carolina on Thursday.

“I thought we did compete a little bit better in the second half,” Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. “In this league, 20 minutes doesn’t get it. We’ve got to have a little more urgency.”

N.C. State shot 33.3% (20 for 60) from the field, 25% (3 for 12) from 3-point distance and lost for the third time in 11 games.

A week ago, Moore was concerned about back-to-back road games against neighboring rivals. That proved to be a worthy worry.

“Duke came in ready to play from the tip,” he said. “We took a punch pretty early.”

The Blue Devils built enough of a cushion to withstand a four-minute scoring drought in the fourth quarter. Mair converted a three-point play for a 61-49 lead with 2:02 remaining.

Facing a 22-point deficit, the Wolfpack scored nine points in 60 seconds, capped by two 3-pointers from James to close within 43-30. When the margin was restored to 20 points, the Blue Devils seemed to be in good shape.

Earlier, Ashlon Jackson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Duke a 35-19 lead at the break. The Wolfpack shot 21.4% in the first half against the ACC’s top-rated defensive team.

“That was really important that we started fast and physical,” Brown said.

N.C. State finished with 14 turnovers and six assists.

“They make it really hard for you to operate on offense,” Moore said.

Duke didn’t attempt a free throw until 2:02 left in the game and finished 7 for 7 from the line.

BIG PICTURE

N.C. State: The Wolfpack dropped to 7-4 in true road games. The team’s 19 points in the first half weren’t a season low, but wasn’t a good sign for a team that entered averaging 76.1 points.

Duke: The Blue Devils faced a ranked opponent for the fourth game in a row and ended up 2-2 in that stretch. The Blue Devils outscored N.C. State 18-9 from beyond the 3-point arc. Duke swept two games from the Wolfpack last season, so winning three of the last four marks its best stretch in the rivalry in a decade.

UP NEXT

N.C. State: Host No. 17 Syracuse on Thursday.

Duke: Host Virginia on Thursday.

___

Get alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here.

___

AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball