Wolfpack hang on late

With Washington trailing 75-72, a Nate Robinson three-ball missed short off of the front rim with just over 11 seconds remaining. North Carolina State's Cameron Bedderman grabbed the rebound and made two free-throws to provide the Wolfpack with the final five-point margin of victory in Raleigh this afternoon.

For the Huskies, it was a marvelous effort that showed the nation just how far their program has come. Washington was far more athletic than their higher ranked hosts and consistently beat them in transition with their quickness. However a cold snap and some key turnovers, along with two huge three-point bombs by NC State, proved to be the difference.

Washington's Bobby Jones had a career afternoon, scoring 22 on 10 of 13 shooting and playing solid defense on NC State's Marcus Melvin.

Nate Robinson (13), Will Conroy (11), and Brandon Roy (10) all scored in double figures, but Roy had a brutal game, shooting just 25% from the field.

The Wolfpack was led by Melvin's hard earned 16 points. Scooter Sherrell added 13, but it was the late three-point shooting of Ilian Evtimov that hurt the Huskies down the stretch. Evtimov had 12, six in the final three minutes on two long-range bombs that were the difference in the game.

Early on, NC State built a six point lead at 16-10, but the Huskies refused to back down. Their defense forced two turnovers on the next three Wolfpack possessions, and then Tre Simmons hustled back on a two-on-one to prevent an easy score for the home team. NC State was unable to convert and Simmons grabbed the rebound. He hit Curtis Allen in transition, who found Jones for his second fast-break lay-in of the game to put the Huskies ahead for the first time at 20-19 with 8:04 left in the first half. Jones was fouled on the play and his free throw gave the Dawgs a two-point lead.

NC State went nearly six minutes without a field goal while the Huskies steadily turned up the defensive heat. Julius Hodge finally broke the drought with a three to give the Wolfpack their final lead of the first half.

Simmons hit a tough 18-foot turnaround as the shot clock ticked to zero to put the Huskies on top 34-31 at intermission.

Will Conroy's first points of the contest, a long trey from the top of the key early in the second half, was followed by a Simmons three-ball in transition and a Conroy breakaway layin. That completed a 10-0 run to put the Dawgs on top 47-39, the high water mark of the contest for the visitors from Seattle.

NC State made a 10-2 run to slash the lead to four but Jones answered with a 17-footer from the baseline and then a tip-in of a Brandon Roy miss.

That is when NC State's Julius Hodge picked up his fourth foul, sending him to the bench, and the Wolfpack went into their zone defense. Those developments turned the game around. NC State shut down the transition game of Washington and went on the offensive boards, climbing out of the hole. Aided by some Washington turnovers and cold shooting from both the field and the line, NC State took the lead on a three-point bomb 61-60 as the clock went under 7:00.

A Jensen airball from two feet away was followed by three more NC State free throws and the lead swelled to four as the home crowd got louder and louder. Washington finally stopped the drought with a Roy three-ball as the shot clock was nearing zero, cutting the Wolfpack lead to one. Roy split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 64 to set up the final three minutes.

That is when Evtimov scorched the Dawgs with two long bombs. A Conroy scoop shot in traffic and a Robinson acrobatic bank shot answered the treys and kept it a two-point game. A Melvin strong drive to the hoop over Jones pushed the lead to four. A Husky miss led to a Conroy foul. Hodge hit one of two to make it a five-point lead.

Conroy missed a lay in but Robinson went high for the rebound to draw the foul. He made both free throws, and when Jones stole the all and put down a two-handed thunder jam, the Dawgs only trailed 73-72 with 43 seconds remaining.

Washington got exactly what they wanted, as Conroy fouled Engin Atsur. Atsure missed both free throws, and the Huskies looked as if they'd have one last shot to win it. Instead of holding for a possible game winner, Brandon Roy went at the Wolfpack early and had a 10-foot leaner lip out. Melvin grabbed the rebound and was fouled. His free throws made it 75-72, setting up Robinson's three-point attempt.

Washington is now 13-10 and now goes on the road to play the Arizona schools. The Huskies remain in third place in the Pac-10 at 8-6, and should take a lot of confidence with them after this showing on Tobacco Road.

The Huskies were essentially without Anthony Washington today, as he had a stomach ailment that severely limited his minutes.

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