It was NC State's day in College Park, Maryland, and after squandering three halftime leads against other ACC opponents, the Wolfpack made sure it wouldn't happen again.
Hot shooting and tough defense keyed NC State's finest half of the year, as they connected on 10 of 18 3-point attempts in the first half while limiting the Terps to just 5-for-20 shooting at halftime. Behind its strong play, the Pack led 53-27 at the break and never looked back.
The Terps came out and made the run most expected, but the Wolfpack never let the lead slip below double-figures, as the Terps cut it to 63-53 with eight minutes remaining in the contest.
Needing a lift, the Wolfpack got it from guard Engin Atsur. The Turkish sophomore hit back-to-back 3-pointers and a free throw, as his seven points gave NC State a 70-55 lead with five minutes left to play.
The lead would not fall below 13 points the rest of the way, as senior Julius Hodge took over to make sure the Pack wouldn't suffer its third straight ACC road defeat. Hodge hit crucial free throws down the stretch and knocked in two buckets that pushed the Pack's lead to 19 points. Maryland's final push never came, and NC State held on for the 85-69 victory.
It was NC State's second straight win in College Park, Maryland after failing to defeat the Terps on their home floor since 1989.
Hodge led NC State with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Atsur added 17 points, six assists and had no turnovers. Junior Ilian Evtimov chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds, and freshman Gavin Grant added another 12 points.
Maryland received another terrific effort from junior Nik Caner-Medley, who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. John Gilchrist added 13 while Chris McCray and Travis Garrison chipped in 11 each.
NC State's win was huge for the Wolfpack, as they improve to 12-6 overall and 2-3 in the ACC on the season. They return to action this week at home against the Florida State Seminoles.
Maryland falls to 11-5 overall and 2-3 in the ACC. They head to Durham, North Carolina and play the Blue Devils Wednesday night.