No. 14 NC State holds off Clemson
Raleigh, NC – T.J. Warren scored 21 points and Richard Howell provided a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds, as No. 14 North Carolina State held off Clemson, 66-62, in a tight ACC battle at PNC Arena.
Howell converted a three-point play with under two minutes to play to break a tie game, and the Wolfpack (15-3, 4-1 ACC) held on to stay unbeaten at home and avoid back-to-back losses after falling at Maryland last Wednesday.
Rodney Purvis and Scott Wood each scored 11 points for the victors, with Wood providing clutch free throws in the final minute to preserve the win.
"The cake will taste a lot better tonight I am sure," said NC State head coach Mark Gottfried, who celebrated his 49th birthday on Sunday. "That's a good win for us."
Clemson (10-7, 2-3) had its two-game winning streak snapped despite Devin Booker totaling a career-high 27 points on 13-of-18 shooting.
"Booker was fantastic. He played at a high level," Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. "I'm proud of how he played."
Rod Hall added 16 points and committed the game-sealing turnover in the closing seconds.
NC State never trailed, but also never pulled away. Consecutive dunks by Booker cut Clemson's once double-digit deficit to 49-47 with under nine minutes left in regulation, and Hall's three-point play tied things, 54-54, with 3:37 remaining.
Howell went 1-for-2 at the foul line, then threw down a dunk off a nice pass from Lorenzo Brown after Hall turned it over in the lane.
Milton Jennings answered with a tying 3-pointer, but the Wolfpack went down low again to Howell, who was fouled while putting in a layup and hit the free throw for a 60-57 lead with 1:56 on the clock.
After misses at both ends, Wood fought off Booker for a pivotal defensive rebound off a Hall miss and sank 1-of-2 at the stripe with 27.9 ticks to go.
After Hall put in a quick deuce, Wood made two more at the line before Jennings made things interesting with a 3-pointer. Two more free throws by Wood with under 10 seconds remaining pushed the margin back to three, and Hall gave the ball away in the backcourt to clinch the outcome.
Purvis made three 3-pointers in the first five minutes, the third yielding a healthy 13-2 lead out of the gate.
Booker brought the Tigers within three by scoring eight points during 10-2 run to counter NC State's strong start, and the senior forward finished his 18- point first half with a layup off an offensive rebound in the closing seconds to keep the visitors within striking distance, 34-26.
The Wolfpack shot 45 percent from the field, the first time they won this season without shooting 50 percent or better ... NC State is 11-0 at home ... Clemson shot just 5-of-19 from 3-point range and 5-of-7 from the foul line ... The Wolf Pack made 14-of-23 free throws.