Instant observations: NC State knocks off Duke, advances to Final Four

On3 imageby:Noah Fleischman03/31/24

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DJ Burns
Mar 31, 2024; Dallas, TX, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) controls the ball against Duke Blue Devils center Kyle Filipowski (30) in the second half in the finals of the South Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at American Airline Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS — Good thing NC State had practice cutting the nets down after its ACC Tournament Championship in Washington, D.C. The Wolfpack, which needed to win that title to punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament, was able to climb that ladder again in the Big Dance. NC State used a clinical second half to knock off 4-seed Duke 76-64 on Sunday afternoon at the American Airlines Center. NC State advanced to the Final Four for the first time since 1983 and it will play top-seeded Purdue on Saturday in Phoenix. But to get there, the Wolfpack used a two-headed scoring attack of graduate forward DJ Burns and graduate guard DJ Horne. They scored 29 and 18 points, respectively, in the win. While the pair of DJs did their thing, graduate guard Michael O'Connell added 5 points with 10 rebounds and six assists, both team bests.