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Monday / February 20.

Duke Shocked at Home by Dennis Smith Jr., NC State For Third Loss in Last Four Games

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By MIKE McCURRY

Prior to Monday, the last time that North Carolina State won at Cameron Indoor Stadium was in 1995, when Jeff Capel was playing for the Blue Devils and Dennis Smith Jr. had not yet entered this world.

Smith Jr. was alive and well in his Durham debut, with the freshman going off for 32 points, 6 assists, and 4 boards to lead the Wolfpack to a come-from-behind 84-82 win at No. 17 Duke, snapping the program’s 17-game losing streak at Cameron Indoor.

Ironically, before the game, Smith Jr. told ESPN’s Jay Bilas that he’s still not 100 percent recovered from his ACL surgery. He’s currently projected as the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com.

Abdul-Malik Abu added 19 points and 9 rebounds for NC State, which desperately needed a marquee victory after having lost 4 of its 5 previous contests.

Duke squandered a 12-point lead in this one, settling for three-pointers against North Carolina State’s zone far too often—the Blue Devils shot 29 percent (8 of 28) from beyond the arc—and receiving an underwhelming performance from Grayson Allen (13 points, 4 of 13 shooting, 1 of 9 on three-pointers).

Furthermore, Duke had way too many defensive breakdowns, while the lack of a true point guard on the roster continues to plague the Blue Devils.

The issues are piling up for the AP’s preseason No. 1 team, which is now 2-3 under Capel after going 13-2 under Mike Krzyzewski before Coach K underwent back surgery.

Photo: @ESPNCBB

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