At last, NC State’s season is over.

The Wolfpack fell to No. 1-seeded Purdue on Saturday night in Phoenix, 63-50. The defeat snapped a streak of 9 consecutive wins in elimination games for NC State, dating back to its first-round win over Louisville in the ACC Tournament last month.

By getting to the Final Four, NC State accomplished something it had not done since Jim Valvano led the ‘Pack to the national championship in 1983. After a valiant effort against Zach Edey and the Boilermakers, they came up just short of another national title game appearance.

Here are 3 takeaways from NC State’s defeat:

NC State’s 3-point shooting defense dried up

NC State’s perimeter defense was a big reason why the Wolfpack made it all the way to the Final Four. NC State opponents shot just under 24% from the 3-point line in the NCAA Tournament after shooting north of 36% from that range during ACC play. Whether you want to call it luck or improved defense, it doesn’t matter — it didn’t show up for NC State on Saturday against the Boilermakers.

Purdue shot 10-of-25 from 3-point range in the win, which is right in line with its season average of 40.6%. The Boilermakers were 2nd in the country in 3-point percentage coming into this game. Purdue didn’t attempt a ton of 3-pointers during the regular season, instead preferring to run its offense through Edey. But against NC State, Purdue took 25 3-point attempts — the first time it hit that threshold in a game since Jan. 20. Fletcher Loyer, Lance Jones and Mason Gillis all drained multiple 3-pointers in the victory.

DJ Burns struggled

The NC State big man was arguably NC State’s best player throughout this run, but he didn’t play well on Saturday against the Boilermakers. Burns finished with 8 points on 10 shots and corralled just 1 rebound.

Edey’s physicality forced Burns to operate out of the high-post more than he otherwise would have. Burns did end up with 4 assists, but his scoring touch in the mid-range wasn’t there in this game.

Burns also got into foul trouble with a pair of fouls in the first half. Overall, he was a -8 in 27 minutes of action.

DJ Horne did keep the Wolfpack in the game as he scored 20 points on 21 shots while grabbing 6 rebounds. However, the rest of NC State’s offense combined to score just 30 points on 36 shots. As a team, NC State shot 37% from the floor.

A historic run comes to an end

When the postseason began, not many thought the Wolfpack had a chance to do something special — but they did. NC State became just the 7th double-digit seed ever to reach the Final Four, and just the second of that group to do so as an automatic qualifier into the field of 64.

This was NC State’s first Final Four appearance since 1983 when it won the national title. The Wolfpack hadn’t been to the Elite Eight since 1986, either. For a lot of NC State fans, this was the first time they were able to see their school on this stage — and that’s something to be proud of moving forward regardless of the outcome against Purdue.

Kevin Keatts and his staff will now go into the offseason looking to keep this momentum going for 2024-25. They will have their work cut out for them, as several core members of this team — including Burns and Horne — are now out of collegiate eligibility. Maximizing the momentum from this NCAA Tournament run will be crucial for NC State as it looks to take the next step under Keatts.