RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Markell Johnson had 13 points and five assists to lead balanced North Carolina State to a 60-54 victory over Clemson on Saturday.
The Wolfpack (13-5, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) ended Clemson’s three-game win streak, which began with a home victory over N.C. State on Jan. 4. N.C. State shot 50% to take a double-digit halftime lead and Clemson (9-8, 3-4) couldn’t overcome shooting struggles from the field and the free-throw line.
Aamir Simms led the Tigers with 18 points, 12 coming in the first 7 ½ minutes, and 11 rebounds.
N.C. State took a 36-24 halftime lead when Devon Daniels shot 50% and scored 12 of his 13 points.
D.J. Funderburk finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Wolfpack, while C.J. Bryce added 11 points and nine boards.
Clemson led early in the half, overcoming missing its first five shots and getting a scoring burst from Simms.
The Tigers took a 15-8 lead, with 12 of the points coming from Simms, who made five of his first seven attempts. However, from that point, Clemson missed nine of its final 12 shots of the half. Players other than Simms were a combined 4 for 13 from the floor, and Clemson also made just 5 of 14 free-throw attempts. Overall, the Tigers were 9 of 23 from the line.
N.C. State was 11 of 22 from the floor and 11 of 15 from the free-throw line in the first half. The Wolfpack played most of the game without starting forward Manny Bates, who left with a neck injury after getting tangled with Simms at the 11:40 mark of the first half.
Clemson: The Tigers couldn’t maintain the January momentum that started with a victory over the visiting Wolfpack. Clemson followed that victory up with its first win at North Carolina in 60 tries and then upset No. 3 Duke on Tuesday. Simms, who scored 25 against the Blue Devils, started hot against N.C. State but cooled off after scoring 12 of his team’s first 15 points.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack has recovered from a 1-2 start in the conference to win three of the past four. The return to the starting lineup of C.J. Bryce, sidelined by a concussion in late December, gave the Wolfpack a boost. He missed N.C. State’s ACC losses to Clemson and Virginia Tech. Bryce played 21 minutes off the bench in the Wolfpack’s 80-63 win over Miami on Wednesday.