Rowan helps NC State edge Clemson 77-74
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State isn’t a one-man show after all.
Maverick Rowan scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half to help the Wolfpack beat Clemson 77-74 on Saturday.
Abdul-Malik Abu added 17 points and 16 rebounds for N.C. State (14-13, 4-10 Atlantic Coast Conference), which overcame a subpar shooting performance by point guard Anthony “Cat” Barber.
“It’s nice to take some weight off his shoulders sometimes and just play as a team and play team ball and get the win,” Rowan said.
Caleb Martin had 13 of his 16 points in the first half for the Wolfpack.
Jaron Blossomgame scored a career-high 33 points to lead Clemson (16-11, 9-6). Sidy Djitte added 12 points and eight boards for the Tigers.
Clemson finished the game with a school-record one turnover but was outrebounded 43-30.
“We played pretty well offensively,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “Combine their timely shooting with the way they hurt us on the glass, and it made for an uphill battle.”
Barber, the ACC’s leading scorer at 23.7 points, scored a season-low eight points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field while being harassed by Avry Holmes and a host of help defenders.
He missed his first nine shots before banking in a floater to extend N.C. State’s lead to 66-61 with 5:27 to play.
“It just shows how many people are involved in this,” Martin said. “Cat is averaging a lot of points, and everybody knows he can do it. If he’s off a little bit, everybody just steps up.”
Rowan made a 3-pointer on N.C. State’s first possession of the game, but he was silent for the rest of the first half. That changed in a big way after halftime.
Clemson took a 40-35 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second half, but Rowan ignited a 16-6 run with 12 points for the Wolfpack.
He delivered a 3-pointer and a jumper to tie the score at 40. Three minutes later, he made a 3-pointer and two other jumpers on consecutive possessions to give N.C. State a 51-46 lead with 12:29 to play.
“We just kept calling his number,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “There was a stretch there where we just went to him over and over again, and he responded really well to it.”
Clemson trailed 71-63 with 3:30 remaining, but Blossomgame brought his team back. He scored all of the points in a 7-0 run for the Tigers, cutting N.C. State’s lead to 71-70 on a 3-point play with 2:14 remaining.
But Rowan answered with a jumper from the left wing to extend N.C. State’s lead to three, and Holmes missed a 3-point try for Clemson.
Barber made four free throws down the stretch to help the Wolfpack secure the victory.
Clemson: The Tigers missed a chance to reach 10 victories through 15 ACC games for the first time since the ACC expanded to a 16-game conference schedule in 1991-92.
N.C. State: Barber took a rare break midway through the first half, resting for more than three minutes. He had played at least 38 minutes in eight consecutive games.
Abu bounced back from a forgetful performance at Virginia in which he did not attempt a shot and grabbed only four rebounds in 22 minutes. He had five of N.C. State’s 10 dunks and grabbed eight offensive rebounds against Clemson.
The game featured the ACC’s top two shot blockers: N.C. State’s BeeJay Anya and Clemson’s Landry Nnoko. Anya finished with three blocks, and Nnoko had four. That leaves Anya one block ahead of Nnoko for the season, 66-65. They have similarly close career totals, with Nnoko having a 206-203 edge.
Clemson visits Georgia Tech on Tuesday.
N.C. State hosts No. 5 North Carolina on Wednesday.