This game was billed as a showcase between two super freshmen, but it was the old veterans who made a difference.
N.C. State freshman Terquavion Smith and Notre Dame rookie Blake Wesley are two of the top new faces in the ACC.
But it was Notre Dame senior Nate Laszewski who had the biggest impact during the 73-65 win by the Irish.
Laszewski, who came into the game averaging 8.4 points, finished with 18 points to lead the Irish.
Wesley and Smith came into the game averaging 15 and 14, respectively. Smith struggled (4 points) after averaging 19.2 in his last four games. Wesley got it going late (15 points). It was the senior, though, who turned the tide of the game.
After missing their first four shots to start the second half, Laszewski went on a personal 8-0 run to put Notre Dame (13-6, 6-2) ahead by three.
Laszewski hit back-to-back 3s, then drove the lane for an uncontested dunk, forcing Kevin Keatts to take a timeout. The 6’10 forward had 11 points during a 15-0 run that put the Irish ahead by 10.
N.C. State (10-11, 3-7 ) went more than two minutes without a field goal, both by sophomore Cam Hayes, who scored for the first time in two games.
Casey Morsell, who sat most of the first half with two fouls, scored five points during a 9-2 Pack run to cut the lead to single-digits.
The Irish, in an attempt to keep N.C. State out of the lane, went to zone, which led to two Pack turnovers. Notre Dame turned them into points, extending the lead to 10.
N.C. State had 20 points in the paint in the first half, but were limited to 16 in the second.
Like they’ve done most of the year, especially in ACC play, the Pack made a late run to make things interesting. Dereon Seabron, who had 11 in the first half, scored three straight to make it a six-point game with 3:39 to play.
Notre Dame’s three seniors in the starting five combined for 46 points. Dane Goodwin’s corner 3 with 55 seconds remaining was the knockout blow to the Pack comeback attempt. Seabron finished with a game-high 21 points. He was one of four State players in double figures.
The two teams were dead even at the half, tied at 30. N.C. State and Notre Dame shot an identical 38 percent from the field and 50 percent from the foul line. The Irish had a slight edge from behind the arc, shooting 33 percent, compared to 21 percent for the Wolfpack.
The largest lead was five by N.C. State, and that only lasted one possession as Notre Dame cut it to two with a Laszewski three. The first six points of the game for the Wolfpack came on second chance points. N.C. State was aggressive on the offensive boards early, but at the half, just like the score, the teams were dead even in offensive rebounds (6) and second chance points (8). The Pack had a one-rebound edge (21-20).
The Wolfpack struggled from three in the first half, knocking down just three of 14 attempts. They finished the game 6-19 from three.
Notre Dame remained perfect at home (8-0) after Wednesday’s victory. It was their ninth straight win at home, dating back to last season when N.C. State knocked them off at home. Keatts is now 4-2 versus the Irish. The Notre Dame win snaps a four-game losing streak versus N.C. State. The Irish knocked down 11 three-pointers, improving to 9-0 when they make 10 or more from deep.
The Pack returns to action on Saturday against rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill.