The No. 6 Duke Blue Devils suffered their worst loss to an unranked opponent in Mike Krzyzewski's tenure against the NC State Wolfpack.
Everything was falling for Wolfpack guard Markell Johnson, who finished with a career-high 28 points on 52.6% shooting from the floor and a 5-of-6 showing from beyond the arc.
The senior's impressive night included a heave that beat the first-half buzzer from beyond mid-court to put NC State up by 15 on their rivals heading into the locker room.
Kevin Keatts' squad ended the night with a 22-point victory that potentially saved its chances at an NCAA tournament bid — and Wolfpack fans celebrated accordingly by storming the court at PNC Arena.
Everything was falling for the NC State Wolfpack in their blowout victory over the No. 6 Duke Blue Devils Wednesday night.
Even buzzer-beating heaves.
NC State's Markell Johnson sank a miraculous last-second Hail Mary from well beyond the logo at PNC Arena to end a stellar half and send the Wolfpack back to the locker room with a 15-point lead on their rivals.
FROM HALF COURT 💦
NC State ends the half with a 44-29 lead over No. 6 Duke! pic.twitter.com/UVrKelC6JL
— ESPN (@espn) February 20, 2020
The senior guard was on fire against Wednesday night, scoring a career-high 28 points on 52.6% shooting from the floor and a 5-of-6 showing from beyond the arc. Johnson added nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals to boot in NC State's fifth home win against the Blue Devils in the past seven years.
Though he was criticized for spurning Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts during the postgame handshake after suffering his worst loss to an unranked opponent in his 40 years at Duke, head coach Mike Krzyzewski took a moment after the game to congratulate Johnson on his stellar performance.
Coach K, gracious as ever in defeat, with the heartfelt congratulations to Coach Kevin Keatts after NCSU hammers Duke. pic.twitter.com/2Yg6pujCTA
— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) February 20, 2020
NC State's 22-point victory over Coach K's squad very well could have salvaged its season and kept its postseason hopes alive. The Wolfpack now own a 17-9 record on the season, and Wednesday night's win lifts them above .500 in ACC play. Ranked fifth in the conference, NC State is widely considered to be on the bubble when it comes to NCAA tournament seeding. But taking down a perennial powerhouse in such stunning fashion certainly helps bolster the case to include Johnson and company in the 64-team field come March.
The Wolfpack will move on to host the eighth-ranked Florida State Seminoles Saturday before traveling to Chapel Hill to take on their rival North Carolina Tarheels at the Dean Smith Center Tuesday. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, will look to rebound from their stunning upset against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday night.