December 20, 2018 / 2:43 AM / 5 months ago

NC State uses balanced attack to stun No. 7 Auburn

EditorsNote: Changes owns to own in 6th graf; Changed visits to visited in 11th graf

Junior guard Markell Johnson scored a career-high 27 points, buoyed by a big second half, as host North Carolina State upended No. 7 Auburn 78-71 on Wednesday night in Raleigh, N.C.

Devon Daniels and Braxton Beverly added 15 points apiece. The Wolfpack won despite only six points from senior guard Torin Dorn, who posted double figures in every previous game this season.

NC State has a 10-1 record for the first time in 13 years.

J’Von McCormick (14 points), Austin Wiley (13 points), Malik Dunbar (12 points) and Jared Harper (11 points) paced Auburn (9-2), which suffered its only other loss to Atlantic Coast Conference member Duke in the Maui Invitational semifinals.

Johnson was back in the NC State starting lineup a game after he came off the bench Saturday against Penn State because he had been late for a team function. He was 1-for-4 on first-half 3-point attempts before hitting 4-for-4 in the second half.

NC State feasted on one of the weaker schedules in the country in the opening weeks, but the Wolfpack now own victories against Power 5 teams Vanderbilt, Penn State and Auburn this month.

Auburn pulled even in the second half before Johnson hit a trio of 3-pointers. His four-point play with a little over nine minutes left gave the Wolfpack a 54-49 edge. He drained another 3 in transition on the next possession for an eight-point lead.

The lead ballooned to 69-57 another fast-break basket by Johnson.

NC State is 4-1 against top 10 opponents across two seasons under coach Kevin Keatts.

NC State led 35-27 at halftime despite shooting 4-for-11 on free throws. Beverly drained four first-half 3-pointers, while Auburn was 0-for-8 from long range.

It marked the biggest nonconference home game for the Wolfpack since 2011, when then-No. 1 Syracuse visited before joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.

—Field Level Media

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