In a stunning upset, North Carolina State halted Duke’s bid for back-to-back ACC tournament titles, prevailing 74-69 in a quarterfinal clash held in Washington D.C. Duke, seeded second, stumbled in its tournament debut after earning a double-bye as the conference’s top seed, marking their first conference tournament opener loss since 2013. The defeat casts uncertainty over Duke’s NCAA tournament seeding prospects.

The Blue Devils endured a sluggish start, missing their initial nine field goal attempts, signaling offensive woes that persisted throughout the game. Despite a valiant effort from sophomore standout Kyle Filipowski, who tallied 28 points and 14 rebounds, Duke faltered against NC State’s formidable defense, particularly from center D.J. Burns Jr.

Meanwhile, the Wolfpack capitalized on their momentum, securing their third consecutive victory after dispatching Louisville and upsetting Syracuse in previous tournament matches. Bolstered by a 5-of-11 shooting performance from beyond the arc, NC State seized a halftime lead of 35-32.

Guard DJ Horne, making a return from injury, provided a crucial spark off the bench for NC State, notching 12 points in the first half, including a buzzer-beating shot. Horne’s contributions, coupled with solid team defense, thwarted Duke’s attempts to seize control in the second half.

Despite a late surge from Duke, including a missed dunk by NC State’s Ben Middlebrook, NC State held on for the victory. Filipowski’s efforts, highlighted by a late layup, fell short as NC State maintained composure from the free-throw line in the game’s closing moments.

Looking ahead, NC State advances to face the winner of the quarterfinal clash between Virginia and Boston College, poised to capitalize on their newfound momentum in pursuit of ACC tournament glory.



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