Duke basketball season ends in Elite 8 with familiar situation against NC State

The road has officially ended for the Blue Devils

Mar 31, 2024; Dallas, TX, USA; Duke basketball center Ryan Young (15) and center Kyle Filipowski
Mar 31, 2024; Dallas, TX, USA; Duke basketball center Ryan Young (15) and center Kyle Filipowski / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, there were differences in the game, but Sunday afternoon in Dallas felt a lot like Thursday night in Washington D.C. for the Duke basketball team against NC State.

If was when this magical run for the Wolfpack started and it has continued to a Final Four berth with its 76-64 victory over the Blue Devils in the Elite 8.

It was a familiar beginning for Duke in each of its last two games against North Carolina State, slow.

The 'Pack led just 6-4 going into the first media timeout before the Blue Devil offense began to pick up due to freshman Jared McCain. He scored 11 straight points to give Duke a 15-11 lead, which eventually grew to as many as nine, 27-18, with 1:38 left in the half.

Duke wouldn't score again before halftime as NC State had the final three points to make its deficit a manageable six points, 27-21.

The Blue Devils had more made free throws than made field goals -- which would be a reoccurring theme in the game -- in the first half. It felt like Duke should be up a lot more than it was and flirting with danger by letting the Wolfpack hang around.

Spoiler: It did come back to hurt them.

It wouldn't take long for the wheels to start shaking and eventually fall off for the Blue Devils in the second half.

NC State tied, and took the lead, with 12:59 remaining but a 3-point play from Kyle Filipowski gave Duke the lead once again but back-to-back buckets by DJ Burns and DJ Horne put the Wolfpack in front and they never looked back.

The closest Duke would get over the final 9:30 of the game was four points, 44-40. Everything that could have went wrong did. It all came back to the star of the tournament, DJ Burns, who finished with a season-high 29 points.

Filipowski fouled out with 4:52 remaining and had 11 points and nine rebounds on 3-of-12 shooting. Tyrese Proctor had the worst game of his two years in Durham, missing all nine of his shots, five of which were 3-pointers, and going scoreless.

It was McCain who was the only one to show fight, finishing with 32 points.

Duke was 19-for-59 on field goals (32.2-percent) and 21-of-26 from the free throw line (80.8-percent). It was 5-of-20 on 3-pointers.

NC State, after making 9-of-34 (26.4-percent) shots in the first half, was 19-of-26 (73-percent) in the second half. Burns had 21 of his 29 points after halftime. The Wolfpack were only 3-of-13 from 3-point range in the game.

It gives the Cinderella of the year and the darling of the country a date with Purdue in the Final Four on Saturday night as the Blue Devils will return to Durham with many questions to answer heading into the offseason.