RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina State was not about to let this one slip away.
Riding a five-game losing skid, the Wolfpack played some clutch basketball late in the game in winning 68-63 at Virginia Tech on Tuesday night.
“You could tell our guys were sick of losing games at the end and we found a way to win,” said N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts.
Once again, Dereon Seabron led the way, posting his ninth double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
“It feels good to get our first win, especially on the road,” said Seabron. “It also feels good because it shows our hard work is paying off and we’re improving and learning how to close out games.”
During their five-game losing streak, closing out games had been a problem for the Pack.
Against the Hokies, it appeared that trend would continue when Virginia Tech went on an 18-2 run over a five-minute stretch in the second half to seize control of the game.
That’s when the Pack decided enough is enough.
“We came up with a word yesterday (Monday) which was ‘relentless,'” Seabron explained. “Every time it got close we kept saying that word. We weren’t about to give this game away we were going to close this game out.”
It’s not as if the Wolfpack had been getting blown-out during their five-game losing skid.
Quite the opposite.
State lost those games by a total of 15 points.
“We took a punch and we punched back,” bragged Keatts. “I’m proud of those guys they’ve caught a lot of flak over the last couple of weeks and I don’t think they’ve deserved it because we play hard and have been in every game.”
Now they have something to show for it, an impressive road win in a hostile environment.
“When it comes to crunch time, like the last four minutes, you’ve got to play hard and finish possessions,” said freshman Terquavion Smith who tallied 17 points.
Their effort can be summed up in one word: “relentless.”
Keatts told his team to come up with a word the team could hang their hats on for the remainder of the season. And at least for one night, the Pack played to the word they chose.
“Those guys to their credit they came up with relentless,” said Keatts. “And honestly tonight I thought they were relentless.”