After ridiculous ban lifted, Braxton Beverly leads NC State to upset of Arizona

Braxton Beverly

Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

A summer class almost cost Braxton Beverly the chance to play this season.

NC State fans are sure glad the NCAA finally dropped its ridiculous ban of the star freshman.

Beverly, who had his transfer waiver request denied by the NCAA after he took summer classes at Ohio State, was finally ruled eligible the day of NC State’s season opener. He decided to transfer to Raleigh after Buckeyes coach Thad Matta was fired.

Now, Beverly is getting the chance to show why he was such a highly-regarded recruit in the first place.

The freshman scored 20 points on 5-of-7 shooting (7-of-9 FT) and made some clutch plays down the stretch to help the Wolfpack (5-0) knock off No. 2 Arizona in the Battle 4 Atlantis on Wednesday.

Beverly drained a top-of-the-key three with about 4 minutes to play to give State a 78-75 lead, which the Wolfpack would not relinquish.

He then hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch to seal the upset, in a game that NC State led throughout.

The Wolfpack were also led by senior guard Allerik Freeman, who scored 24 points on 7-of-18 shooting and dished out 5 assists.

New NC State head coach Kevin Keatts, who took UNC-Wilmington to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2016 and ’17, has his squad rolling at 5-0 so far this season. His up-tempo offense worked wonders with the Seahawks, who were the class of the CAA over the last two seasons and nearly pulled first-round upsets over Duke and Virginia.

Keatts has the Wolfpack playing well, and NC State weathered a 27-point, 14-rebound performance from stud Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton to pull out a resume-headlining November win.

“I feel like every game, every day, these guys have given me tremendous effort, and they’re playing hard,” Keatts told reporters after the game. “They deserved the win.”

It’s a huge ‘W’ for the first-year coach, who’s replacing Mark Gottfried, who was let go despite reaching the Sweet 16 twice and landing top recruit Dennis Smith Jr. last season.

Beverly didn’t show much in limited minutes in his first two college games as Keatts got him adjusted, but he was a major factor on Wednesday night. If he can continue to provide a steady hand, and the rest of this veteran squad continues to believe in each other, State fans will be happy with the way this season turns out.


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