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Thursday, Feb 15, 2018 at 2:39 am

NC State Outlast Men’s Basketball With Long Ball

By Nick Dugan

Syracuse trailed North Carolina State by eight points with just over 2:30 left to play in the second half. Sam Hunt had just hit the Wolfpack’s sixth three-pointer of the final frame.

But the Orange would not go away.

Oshae Brissett knocked down a three-ball of his own, and then another with just over a minute to go. Suddenly, the game was all tied at 70 apiece.

“Throughout the whole game we never try to doubt ourselves,” Brissett said. “We never try to get down. No matter what the score is, we always feel like we can bounce back.”

On this night, however, it wasn’t in the cards for Syracuse (17-9, 6-7 Atlantic Coast Conference). Markell Johnson emerged from a timeout and swished one from behind the arc with 35 seconds left to ice a 74-70 NC State (17-9, 7-6 ACC) victory.

“The first half, I thought we did a much better job covering the three point line,” Boeheim admitted. “Second half, we did not. I thought that was really the difference in the game.”

The Wolfpack shot 3-of-10 from downtown in the first 20 minutes of play. But the visitors found their rhythm in the second half, knocking down 7-of-13 and five in the final seven minutes of play.

“Our biggest problem in the end was that corner three,” Brissett said. “They hit like four of those. I feel like if we would have stopped that it would have been a better game.”

“We’ve just got to make better plays: locate shooters and take care of the basketball,” Frank Howard said. “[They’ve] been kind of two things that have been hurting us this year.”

While SU turned the ball over 15 times, it surrendered ten turnovers in the first half.

“We can’t do that,” Boeheim insisted. “That’s not what we’ve done. That’s why we’ve won these games. We were better in the second half, but the first – I just thought that put us in a bad position.”

The poor perimeter defense and turnovers overshadowed some progress for Syracuse. Matthew Moyer returned to the lineup and appeared to be at full strength.

More impressively, however, was Brissett’s 25 points and seven boards that nearly helped the Orange to a comeback victory.

“I know the type of talent that he is,” Howard said. “We just need to put him in the right position, you know. Get him his spots where he can be aggressive and play quick … We’ve just got to keep him rolling.”

“He picked it up in the second half,” Boeheim said. “He’s a good shooter and he made two monster plays … He made a couple of big threes to get us back in there.”

Not only did the freshman tie his career high, but did so while shooting 61 percent from the floor. But without a win, it doesn’t mean much to the Ontario native.

“It was a great game for myself, but we lost, so it doesn’t really matter,” Brissett said.

Up next for the Orange is a trip down to South Beach, where the Miami Hurricanes await on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m.