NC State and its 2 DJs advance to 1st Final Four since 1983 after 76-64 win over Duke

DALLAS (AP) — Bruising The big man is DJ Burns Jr. DJ Horn scored a season-high 29 points and 11th-ranked North Carolina State reached its first Final Four in four decades, beating Atlantic Coast Conference rival Duke 76-64 in Sunday's South Region final.

NC State (26-14) is back in the national semifinals for the first time since the 1983 national title upset over Houston and Phi Slama Jama, with the late Jim Valvano running around the court to hug someone.

The Wolfpack head into Glendale, Arizona next weekend on a nine-game winning streak. After losing their last four regular season games and seven of nine, they needed to win five games in five days in the ACC tournament, including a quarterfinal victory over Duke in the 68-team NCAA Tournament field. . Now they'll play Zack Eddy and Purdue in their first national semifinal game before UConn faces Alabama.

„I'll say it like I've been saying the whole tournament. When I stop having fun with basketball, I stop playing,” said Burns, who was named South Region MVP. „There's been a total shift in our commitment. No one is late for things. No one has a problem with the court. All together”

Fourth-seeded Duke (27-9), which eliminated top-seeded Houston in the Sweet 16 two nights ago, held on to that lead with 16 1/2 minutes remaining after blowing a six-point halftime lead from its second Final Four in three seasons. .

But when Wolfpack coach Kevin Keats was called for a technical foul with 8 minutes left, his team took a double-digit lead and the seventh double-digit lead since the tournament expanded to the Final Four. 64 teams in 1985.

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After the officials called a missed shot by Duke's Kyle Filipowski, Jared McCain made both free throws for a technical that Keats received that went over the backboard and ran out the shot clock. A foul must have occurred since Burns made contact with Filipowski's hand, but replays showed the Wolfpack's 6-foot-9, 275-pound forward's hand wasn't even close to the ball.

A minute later, Ben Middlebrooks made a steal that led to a quick 3-pointer by Michael O'Connell. A foul happened while the ball was in the air, so the Wolfpack kept possession and Burns made another nifty basket for a 53-42 lead.

O'Connell had six points, but finished with 11 rebounds and six assists.

McCain led Duke with 32 points as the freshman hit 8 of 20 shots and made 11 of his free throws. Jeremy Roach had 13 points, while Filipowski, a 7-foot center, had 11 points and nine rebounds to give the Blue Devils an eight-point lead with 4:52 left.

None of the double-digit seeds made it to the national championship game, but raucous Wolfpack fans chanted „Why not us, why not us?” Before their team cut down the nets on the Big D — about 1,200 miles up the Tobacco Road — the NC State and Duke campuses are only an hour-and-a-half drive from each other.

During the game's first media timeout, they had to watch the NC State women's jump shot in the final 26 seconds on the big video boards in the arena. Their regional final win over Texas And progress to the final four.

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Burns hit short jumpers on the Wolfpack's first two shots of the game, but that was their only streak before halftime when they shot 26.5% (9 of 34) and trailed 27-21.

They certainly turned it around with a 55-point second half, making 19 of 26 shots (73.1%). Burns was 9 of 11 after halftime.

Duke made just 19 field goals in a season-worst 32.2% of 59 attempts. The Blue Devils became the sixth consecutive opponent held to under 40% shooting by NC State.

„We just didn't have any rhythm,” Duke coach John Schaer said. „They started scoring a lot, and our offense, it was probably the most inconsistent game we've played all year.”


NC State and Purdue are meeting in the NCAA Tournament for the first time.


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