RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)Madson Hayes scored a career-high 20 points as No. 8 North Carolina State beat Clemson 77-59 on Sunday in the opener of Atlantic Coast Conference play for both teams.
Mimi Collins had 16 points and Jakia Brown-Turner added 10 for the Wolfpack (11-1, 1-0 ACC), who shot 50.8% en route to their seventh straight win overall and their 18 straight at home. For the second straight game, N.C. State played without both point guard Diamond Johnson and forward Jada Boyd, the team’s two leading scorers who each have ankle injuries.
”I’m just glad to get the heck out of her with a W, and hopefully we’ll get some people healthy during this break,” N.C. State coach Wes Moore said. ”We’ve got to clean some stuff up – way too many turnovers.”
Amari Robinson scored 12 points to lead the Tigers (8-4, 0-1), who snapped a five-game winning streak.
N.C. State overcame a season-high 20 turnovers and trailed by as many as six in the first half, as Clemson built a 28-22 lead after one quarter. The Wolfpack closed the half on a 14-1 run to take an eight-point lead at the break, a run that included a pair of corner 3s from Aziaha James.
Clemson trimmed the deficit to three late in the third quarter, but Hayes scored 12 as the Wolfpack closed out the game on a 21-6 run.
”I think my teammates really helped me with that,” said Hayes, who was 4 for 10 on 3-pointers. ”I think that they had seen a lot of help from the weak side, and Saniya (Rivers) got me the ball from that whole weak side, passing it from baseline to baseline.”
On the other end of the court, the Tigers failed to make a shot from the field in the final 7:30 of the fourth.
”Ultimately, they made a few more plays than we did, in particular in the fourth quarter, ” said Clemson coach Amanda Butler, who complimented her team’s high-intensity start. ”That’s where we’ve got to bounce back and get better at executing down the stretch when we’re the most tired.”
Clemson: The Tigers couldn’t have asked for a better start on offense, but things started to falter after the 3-pointers stopped falling. Clemson hit just 2 of 18 from beyond the arc from the second quarter on. Still, Butler’s team was much more competitive on Sunday than in its previous two losses against ranked opponents this season.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack’s turnover woes definitely gives coach Wes Moore’s group something to work on before resuming ACC play later this month and is likely due to the absence of Johnson. The Wolfpack ultimately still won by a comfortable margin without their top two scorers, a sign of their depth.
”I felt like it was easy for us to pick up that slack because everybody on this team is so versatile and brings something special to this team,” said Collins, who scored nine in the first quarter.
With No. 6 Virginia Tech falling at home to No. 5 Notre Dame on Sunday, N.C. State could potentially move up in the rankings, depending on how far the Hokies drop following their first loss of the season.
Clemson: Hosts Radford on Tuesday for its final nonconference game of the season.
N.C. State: Has 1 1/2 weeks off before hosting rival Duke on Dec. 29.
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