North Carolina State, amid much preseason hype that touted the Wolfpack as the ACC favorite and C.J. Leslie as the conference player of the year, capped off an underwhelming and overly disappointing season in fitting form. Seeded eighth in the East Region, the Wolfpack fell to Temple 76-72, giving Owls Coach Fran Dunphy just his third March Madness win in 17 career games.
Led by juniors CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown, both second-round NBA draft projections according to NBAdraft.net, North Carolina State entered this week with a modest 7-9 overall record against the RPI top 100, but had scored home wins over Duke and North Carolina.
Temple leapt out to a 16-point lead by halftime behind 10 forced turnovers and withstood a furious second-half comeback when the Wolfpack scored on eight straight possessions. Not even consecutive three-pointers from Scott Wood (0 for 5 otherwise) could save Coach Mark Gottfried’s bunch which, for most of Friday, expressed little interest in playing defense.
Guard Khalif Wyatt was equally brilliant for Temple, finishing with a game-high 31 points. Brown and Leslie weren’t particularly bad, combining for 42 points, but a miserable offensive first half couldn’t avoid an early exit.
At least this dude’s jacked up.
Temple advances to face the winner of No. 1 Indiana and No. 16 James Madison, which just tipped off from Dayton, Ohio. So, basically, Temple will play Indiana.
MUCH, MUCH MORE FROM THE NCAA TOURNAMENT