North Carolina State shut up everyone predicting Duke would go undefeated.
The No. 20 Wolfpack upset the No. 1-ranked Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon, 84-76, leaving the Dukies exposed, battered and bruised.
Already without Ryan Kelly, Seth Curry hit the hardwood with an apparent ankle injury late in the second half. If Curry, who entered the contest averaging 16.0 points per game and finished with 22 today, is out a lengthened period of time, Duke will take a huge step back.
But enough about the Blue Devils.
NC State deserves tremendous praise for its outstanding play, led by C.J. Leslie. The explosive forward was the best player on the floor, scoring 25 points and snagging six boards. But as balanced as the Wolfpack are, you know he had plenty of assistance.
Richard Howell was an animal, scoring 16 points and inhaling 18 rebounds. He outplayed Mason Plumlee, a National Player of the Year candidate, who scored just 15 while grabbing 11 rebounds. Scott Wood was also 3-of-3 from downtown, while Lorenzo Brown dished out a whopping 13 times.
NC State just proved that it's a legitimate contender for an ACC title.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to Saturday’s action.
Christian Laettner challenged the Blue Devils pregame to rise to the occasion in Ryan Kelly’s absence before concluding his tweet with a bit of gloating:
Bomani Jones also warned both fanbases before the game that whichever team lost better brace itself for trash talk coming out of North Carolina’s corner:
whoever loses duke-state will receive some serious salt from unc fans. cuz they've got more salt than they know what to do with.— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) January 12, 2013
After Wolfpack sharp shooter Scott Wood drained three straight shots from downtown in the first half, Jason McIntyre of BigLeadSports.com tagged him with an NBA comparison:
Scott Wood = Steve Novak part II? Except his trash talking trumps Novak's discount double check— Jason McIntyre (@TheBigLead) January 12, 2013
On that note, Domenico Montanaro of NBC pointed out Mike Krzyzewski’s reaction to the trash talk and claimed that he’s a hypocrite when it comes to such verbal exchanges:
Coach K letting his true colors show. OK for his kids to trash talk but doesn't like it when it's the other way— Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNBC) January 12, 2013
Jason Jordan of the USA Today reacted to a disgusting Quinn Cook crossover and finish in the first half, tweeting:
Jim Young of ACCSports.com wasn’t as impressed with Cook’s crossover as he was with Richard Howell’s performance and beard:
Richard Howell's beard sweat has healing powers.— ACC Sports (@ACCSports) January 12, 2013
Following up one hyperbole with another, Shane Ryan of TobaccoRoadBlues.com reacted to Seth Curry playing through an injury and hitting a three that brought the Blue Devils within one in the second half, tweeting:
Seth Curry is toughest man in the universe— Shane Ryan (@TobaccoRdBlues) January 12, 2013
Even the toughest athletes, though, can’t play through a major knee injury. Curry went down late in the second half, and Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports didn’t like what he saw:
Oh boy, Seth Curry down hurt. Looked like his leg just gave out. Non-contact.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) January 12, 2013
Scott Van Pelt reacted to Duke’s loss at PNC Arena by tweeting:
Biggest compliment to the Duke is that if you beat them, you storm the floor. That's the bullseye they wear in virtually any road game— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 12, 2013
ESPN gave NC State’s fans in attendance props for fueling the Wolfpack against the favored Blue Devils.
The crowd at NC State is one of the reasons college sports are awesome.— ESPN (@espn) January 12, 2013
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.