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No 11 seed NC State upset Duke to advance to men’s Final Four

Bruising big man DJ Burns Jr scored a season-high 29 points, DJ Horne scored 20 points and 11th-seeded North Carolina State reached its first Final Four in four decades, beating Atlantic Coast Conference rival Duke 76-64 in the South Region final on Sunday.

NC State (26-14) is back in the national semifinals for the first time since the late Jim Valvano sprinted across the field looking for someone to hug after winning the national title with an upset over Houston in 1983.

These Wolfpack players head to Glendale, Arizona next weekend on a nine-game winning streak. After losing their last four regular-season games, and seven of nine, they needed to win five games in five days in the ACC Tournament, including a win over Duke in the quarterfinals, to enter the NCAA field of 68 teams to come. Now they play Zach Edey and Purdue in the first national semifinal before defending champion UConn takes on Alabama.

Fourth-seeded Duke (27-9), which ousted top-ranked Houston in the Sweet 16 two nights earlier, missed their second Final Four in three seasons.

Shortly after Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts was called for a technical foul with eight minutes remaining, his team had a double-digit lead and was on pace to become the seventh double-digit seed to make the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Jared McCain made both free throws for the technique Keatts got after the officials ruled a missed shot by Duke’s Kyle Filipowski that went over the backboard and one of his players’ shot clock expired. Replays showed that while a foul likely should have occurred since Burns made contact with Filipowski’s arm, the 6-foot-4 Wolfpack forward’s hand was not close to the ball.

A minute later, Ben Middlebrooks had a steal that led to a quick three-pointer from Michael O’Connell. A foul was called while the ball was in the air, so the Wolfpack retained possession and Burns made another nifty basket for a 53-42 lead.

O’Connell had six points, but finished with 11 rebounds and six assists.

McCain led Duke with 32 points, with the freshman guard hitting 8 of 20 shots and making all 11 free throws. Jeremy Roach had 13 points, while Filipowski from 7 feet away had 11 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 4:52 left and the Blue Devils already trailing by eight.