Lorenzo Brown filled the stat sheet with 17 65, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Richard Howell added 22 points, while C.J. Leslie had 15 and Scott Wood contributed 10 for the 11th-seeded Wolfpack (23-12), who earned their fist tournament victory since 2006.
NC State will face the winner of Georgetown/Belmont in the third round of the Midwest Region.
Jamaal Franklin netted a game-high 23 points to go with eight rebounds for San Diego State (26-8), which fell to 2-8 all-time in the tourney. Chase Tapley recorded all 19 of his points in the second half in a losing effort.
The Wolfpack held a 33-29 edge at the break, but that advantage slipped to just one, 35-34, on Tapley's three-pointer less than two minutes into the second half.
However, that would be as close as the Aztecs would get for the remainder of the contest as Wood's three-point play sparked a personal 8-2 run that stretched NC State's lead to 43-36.
After a pair of Leslie free throws gave the Wolfpack a nine-point lead, 49-40, San Diego State ripped off a 14-8 spurt to close the gap to three, 57-54, just past the midpoint of the second half.
But back-to-back baskets by C.J. Williams and DeShawn Painter put the Wolfpack back up by seven and the Aztecs never got closer than five points for the remainder of the game as NC State pulled away down the stretch.
The teams traded four-point leads over a back-and-forth opening 14 minutes that saw six lead changes and four ties until Wood's layup sparked a 6-0 spurt by NC State, putting the Wolfpack ahead, 31-26, as the Aztecs failed to record a basket for six minutes.
Franklin snapped the offensive drought with a long two-pointer before Howell's jumper gave North Carolina State a 33-29 lead at the break.
Howell netted 15 points to lead the Wolfpack in the first half, while Franklin scored 13 to pace the Aztecs, who shot just 37.9 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
North Carolina State improved to 33-21 all-time in the NCAA Tournament...It was the first-ever meeting between the teams...James Rahon finished with 11 points for the Aztecs...San Diego State shot 37.7 percent from the floor in the game, including an 8-for-23 mark from beyond the arc...NC State shot 58.5 percent in the contest.