N.C. State emerges victorious against No. 4 North Carolina, clinching the ACC Tournament title and securing an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.

N.C. State emerges victorious against No. 4 North Carolina, clinching the ACC Tournament title and securing an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.

The hardwood witnessed history in the making as N.C. State pulled off a remarkable upset, defeating powerhouse No. 4 North Carolina to claim the ACC Tournament crown. With this monumental triumph, N.C. State punches their ticket to the NCAA tournament, showcasing their resilience and earning well-deserved recognition among college basketball’s elite programs.

N.C. State Stuns UNC to Capture ACC Tournament Title

In a thrilling showdown, DJ Horne led the charge with 29 points, while forward DJ Burns Jr. added 20, marking his debut 3-pointer in college, as North Carolina State clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament by defeating fourth-ranked North Carolina 84-76 in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship game on Saturday night.

The tenth-seeded N.C. State team pulled off a remarkable journey, dethroning the Tar Heels, who had been considered a strong contender for the national title throughout the season. Despite facing foul trouble, Horne showcased his prowess in a 32-minute performance, matching UNC’s RJ Davis, the unanimous ACC player of the year, who delivered an outstanding 30-point performance.

With chants of “DJ Horne! DJ Horne!” echoing through the arena as he fouled out with 1:11 remaining, the atmosphere was electric with N.C. State fans rallying behind their star player.

Reflecting on the victory, Horne expressed his disbelief, stating, “I can’t even put it into words right now. Just a week ago, it was looking like our season was about to be over, and here we are now, man, on top of the world.”

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A Historic Win: N.C. State’s Journey to ACC Tournament Glory

Coach Kevin Keatts had emphasized the need to win the tournament to secure a spot in the NCAAs, and his Wolfpack (22-14) delivered, clinching the ACC Tournament title for the first time since 1987. This victory mirrored their historic win over the Tar Heels, reminiscent of their triumph under Jim Valvano’s leadership.

By earning an automatic bid, N.C. State ensured the ACC would have at least four teams in the NCAA Tournament, joining UNC, Duke, and Clemson. Meanwhile, UNC (27-7) likely secured a top seed for March Madness, despite faltering in the final after a dominant run in the tournament.

The Wolfpack’s resilience shone through, becoming the first team to win five games in the ACC Tournament, even after starting from Tuesday’s play-in round. Despite the fatigue of playing five games in as many days, including an overtime thriller in the semifinals, N.C. State powered through, fueled by Burns’ dominating presence in the paint.

As Burns celebrated his first-ever three-pointer in his 160th college game, the Wolfpack clinched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, ready to showcase their talent on a national stage.


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