NC State basketball punches Final Four ticket, ends Duke's March Madness run

DALLAS — Another standout defensive performance from the NC State Wolfpack was the undoing of the Duke basketball team as the Wolfpack ran away with a 76-64 win in the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight Sunday afternoon in American Airlines Center.

The Wolfpack (26-14) took the lead off a DJ Horne floater with 11:39 left in the second half and pushed the advantage to 14 late in the game. The Blue Devils shot an abysmal 32% from the field for the game.

NC State will be making its first trip to the Final Four since 1983, where it will join Connecticut, Alabama and Purdue. Duke ends the season with a 27-9 record.

DJ Burns., Jr. continued his dominant March Madness run with a team-high 29 points for the Wolfpack.

Jared McCain, DJ Burns get started early

A freshman and a graduate senior set the tone early for their respective teams.

For Duke, it was Jared McCain who got things going for the Blue Devils, scoring 11 of his team's first 15 points in the game. Likewise, Burns, Jr., much to the delight of the pack crowd, had eight his team's first 11 points for the Wolfpack.

McCain outscored his own production from the entirety of the Sweet 16 win over Houston where he scored seven points in 40 minutes on the floor.

Burns' momentum was halted after picking up his second foul of the first half with 9:47 left. He headed to the bench for the next six minutes of game action, where NC State has gotten into an even bigger hole than when he left.

Offenses struggle in first half

Shot making was not a strength for either team in the first 20 minutes. Duke held a 27-21 advantage at the break despite shooting just 30% from the field. That's because NC State wasn't much better, shooting 26% from the field.

The two teams combined to go 3-of-13 from 3-point range in the first portion. Both teams also struggled with fouls as Burns and Mohamed Diarra for NC State and Tyrese Proctor and Kyle Filipowski for Duke were each whistled for two infractions. Blue Devil reserve Jaylen Blakes picked up three fouls in about 10 minutes of action.

The Blue Devils were boosted by hitting all nine of their free throws, seven of them coming from McCain.

DJ Horne takes his turn

With Burns and Diarra battling foul trouble, the Wolfpack needed somebody to take the lead and provide some offense.

DJ Horne answered that call to start the second half. The Raleigh native converted on each of his first three shot attempts in the second half and had nine of the team's first 16 points in the frame. That flipped the game to put NC State ahead 40-38 with 11:38 left on the clock.

Run away Wolfpack

After taking the lead midway through the half, the Wolfpack kept their foot on the gas and started to run away with it.

A 12-2 run put NC State up by eight with 8:19 to go. The advantage grew to 11 after Burns produced his 21 point of the game.

As he's done throughout the postseason, Michael O'Connell produced a big moment. Duke had tripped the deficit to six after Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts was given a technical. McCain hit a pair of free throws before O'Connell hit a 3 in transition to stop any potential Duke momentum.

Filipowski fouled out with 4:52 left with NC State already up 56-44.

What's next?

The Wolfpack will head to Phoenix where they will take on Zach Edey and Purdue in the Final Four.

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: NC State basketball punches Final Four ticket, eliminates Duke