Devils Upset By State, 78-74

Top-ranked Duke saw its 18-game winning streak snapped by No. 21 North Carolina State on Sunday night as Marcus Melvin scored 18 points and Julius Hodge made two clutch free throws with 7 seconds left in a 78-74 victory.

The win moved the Wolfpack (16-5, 9-2) within one game of the Blue Devils (21-2, 10-1) with five conference games left and opened the door for either Stanford or Saint Joseph's to be No. 1 in The Associated Press poll on Monday.

Duke's defense - its staple all season - failed the Blue Devils all night, allowing dribble penetration on numerous possessions as the Wolfpack shot 52 percent and got half their points in the paint.

The nation's top free throw shooting team also made 12 straight from the line over the final 1:10 to help seal the program's first win over a top-ranked team since beating North Carolina in February 1998.

Surging N.C. State has won five straight ACC regular season games for the first time in 30 years.

Hodge had 14 of his 18 points in the second half, while Ilian Evtimov, who made his presence known in the lane, had 15.

J.J. Redick had 28 points for Duke, which lost to Purdue on Nov. 29 in the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout. The Blue Devils have been ranked No. 1 for the last four weeks.

Chris Duhon rallied the Blue Devils from a double-digit deficit to within two early in the second half with two long 3-pointers 37 seconds apart.

However, Duke couldn't pull closer than three until the final 7 seconds when the Wolfpack threw the ball away on an inbounds pass and Sean Dockery hit a shot in the lane.

But Hodge swished two free throws in the final seconds to hand Duke its first loss in 2_ months as thousands of Wolfpack fans flooded the court.

Duke dug itself a hole in the first half with poor shot selection and an even worse effort on the boards.

The Blue Devils missed 20 of their first 27 shots and were beaten 22-9 on the glass to fall behind by 13 late in the period - matching the team's largest deficit of the season. Duke also matched its low for an opening half, which occurred in the season opener against Detroit.

The best shooting team in the ACC went 8_ minutes with just one field goal to fall behind 36-23 as the Wolfpack shot 61 percent in the opening 20 minutes.

N.C. State's 10-point halftime lead could have been more, but the Wolfpack coughed it up 11 times compared to twice for the Blue Devils.

Scooter Sherrill stirred the rivalry earlier in the week by saying Redick "looked like he was gay" as he ran down the court with his follow-through motion after a made shot.

The Wolfpack administration apologized a day later for Sherrill's remarks. The senior guard had a rough time keeping up with the ACC's top 3-point shooter, and picked up his fourth foul with 18:03 left.

Sherrill later came back and made six key free throws over the final 56 seconds.

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