In 1959 NC State won its 4th ACC title in the 6th year of the conference’s existence. NC State finished the season with a 22-4 record (12-2 in conference play). The Wolfpack’s 12-2 conference record earned them the regular season title and the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament. The Pack’s road to the championship game was no cakewalk. The first round matchup against #8 seed South Carolina was a little tighter than most ACC fans were expecting, with NC State squeaking out a 75-72 victory in OT. The semi-final game wasn’t that much easier, with NC State defeating the University of Virginia 66-63. The only game of the tournament that the Pack glided through with great ease was the championship game, which to the delight to the Wolfpack Nation, was against the North Carolina Tar Heels. This was the championship game that ACC fans wanted to see. Both teams entered the tournament with a 12-2 conference record. These were the only two teams from the conference that had made it into the National rankings throughout the season. It was the #1 seed vs. the #2 seed. Well, the game wasn’t the nail-biter that everyone anticipated. NC State thrashed UNC 80-56.
The Wolfpack championship team walked out of the tournament with 3 guys on the 1st team All-Tournament team (Lou Pucillo, John Richter and George Stepanovich) and one on the 2nd team (Bob MacGillivray). John Richter was the MVP of the tournament, averaging 13.7 points in the three games. Even though Richter led the ACC in scoring (17.0) and rebounding (14.2), it was Lou Pucillo (14.7 ppg) who brought home the ACC Player of the Year award and was also elected to the 2nd Team All-American team (AP). When the season came to an end Pucillo and Richter were both on the 1st Team All-ACC team and Stepanovich was on the 2nd Team.
Unfortunately for the second time in the 50’s, NC State was held out of the NCAA tournament due to being on probation, and UNC went on to represent the ACC instead. NC State was serving a 4-year probation that began in 1957 for the recruitment of Louisiana high school star Jackie Moreland.