Jackets hold off late N.C. State rally, win 73-71

After a tough loss on the road against Duke, the No. 19 Jackets headed back home on Saturday, Feb. 6 to face North Carolina State. Despite blowing a double-digit lead late in the second half, Tech held on to win the contest 73-71. The victory puts the Jackets at 5-4 in the ACC and 17-6 overall.

The first half started slowly for both teams. After eight minutes of play, the score was just 6-4 in Tech’s favor. The Jackets picked it up, though, going on an 11-3 run over the next four minutes to put them up 17-7. Senior forward Zachery Peacock led the charge, accounting for seven of Tech’s 11 in this stretch. Peacock finished the game with a team-high 22 points.

Over the next five minutes, N.C. State battled back to tie the score at 27. A minute later, guard Scott Wood hit his fourth three-pointer of the period to give the Wolfpack a 30-27 lead. Peacock countered with a three, but a jumper by N.C. State forward Tracy Smith put them back in front 32-30 headed into the break.

The Jackets opened the second half with a 15-4 run to give them a nine-point advantage. They maintained the lead for the majority of the half, building up a 16-point lead with five minutes left to play.

N.C. State responded minutes later by implementing a full-court press. The Jackets struggled to get the ball inbounds for the remainder of the half, as N.C. State’s defense smothered Tech’s opportunities and generated enough points to cut the lead to one.

Tech hit three foul shots to go up 73-69 with just 35 seconds remaining. The Wolfpack answered with two free throws, but they missed two jumpers as time expired, giving Tech the narrow victory.

The Jackets’ next game is on the road against Miami on Wednesday, Feb. 10.