The Wolfpacker

November 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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■ PACK PAST Wolfpack's 1974-75 Campaign Had A Disappointing Ending Seniors (left to right) Tim Stoddard, Monte Towe and David Thompson had high hopes of leading the Wolfpack to ACC and NCAA titles in 1975, but the Pack lost in the ACC tourney final to North Carolina, and the team decided to decline an invite to the NIT. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS couldn't believe what a disappointment the season had been. How could they have finished tied for A second in the ACC regular-season stand- ings? How could they have lost in the finals of the ACC Tournament? How could it be in this, the first season that the NCAA would allow more than one team per conference to its postseason tour- nament, expanding it from 32 to 48 teams, that the only thing on the table for them was a berth to the lesser National Invitation Tournament? This was an NC State team that was ab- solutely loaded, even while it tried to find a suitable replacement for 7-2 All-American center Tommy Burleson: it had three-time ACC Player of the Year David Thompson, 120 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY TIM PEELER s they sat dejected in the locker room of the Greensboro Coliseum, the players All-ACC point guard Monte Towe, power forward Tim Stoddard, Phil Spence, Mo Rivers and burly, high-scoring freshman Kenny Carr. This was a team with expectations, the last NC State squad to be picked as the preseason favorite to win the ACC and in the top 10 of the preseason coaches and media polls until this year's team was given similar preseason accolades. The season started out so well. Thomp- son scored an ACC-record 57 points in a 144-88 win over Buffalo State. Spence led the team to a 101-72 win over Virginia with 26 points and 14 rebounds. They won eight straight games, running their school-record streak to 36 consecutive wins, to open the season and were ranked No. 1 in the first month of the Associated Press poll. Then came January. Wake Forest played a tight zone, and the Wolfpack shooting went cold in the open- ing round of the Big Four Tournament. The Pack's 34.9 percent shooting allowed the unranked Demon Deacons to pull off one of the biggest upsets since its 1953 team beat six-time champion NC State in the fi- nals of their last appearance in the Southern Conference Tournament. The Deacs became the first ACC team to beat State since Duke in the opening round of the 1972 ACC Tournament. But it didn't count in the conference standings, so Thompson and his teammates were still riding a 27-game winning streak in ACC play. That ended on Jan. 16, 1975, in College Park, Md. Maryland sought a measure of revenge for the year before, when its best team in school history lost three straight games to the Pack, including the 103-100 overtime loss in the ACC title contest, which is still considered the best game in conference history.

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