North Carolina State carries its first four-game Atlantic Coast Conference winning streak since February 2018 into Wednesday’s game against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
The Wolfpack’s current surge follows a stretch of four losses in five games and includes three victories on the road, including a win at Virginia on Feb. 24.
“Right now, I think we are playing pretty good basketball,” NC State’s Jericole Hellems said. “As of right now, we are better as a team and trying to get better every day.”
Hellems paced the team with 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists in Sunday’s 65-62 home win against Pittsburgh. The victory enabled the Wolfpack (12-9, 8-8 ACC) to return to .500 in league play for the first time since they were 2-2 in the conference on Jan. 9.
“It was a grind it out game,” NC State coach Kevin Keatts said. “I think we are getting better defensively.”
The Wolfpack needed that moxie as the Panthers charged back from a 14-point deficit in the second half, cutting NC State’s advantage to three points on three separate occasions.
Manny Bates proved especially rigid down low, blocking six shots while scoring 10 points to finish as one of four Wolfpack players in double figures.
Braxton Beverly chipped in 14 points, and credited the team’s confidence as a catalyst for the winning streak.
“It really comes from practice,” he said. “It’s really starting to show. It’s all coming together at a good time.”
Notre Dame has experienced the opposite of late. The Fighting Irish (9-13, 6-10) are looking to avert a season high-tying four-game losing skid on Wednesday.
Consistency down the stretch continues to be an issue for Notre Dame. After rallying to slash a 12-point deficit to two, the Fighting Irish could not complete the comeback in a 94-90 loss at Boston College on Saturday.
Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey called the contest “the ultimate trap game,” as BC located a new energy while playing for the first time under interim coach Scott Spinelli.
Prentiss Hubb kept Notre Dame afloat, scoring 23 of his 28 points after halftime while contributing seven assists and five rebounds.
Notre Dame has won eight of the 15 leads all-time meetings against NC State, but the Wolfpack enter on a three-game series winning streak.
–Field Level Media