Monroe, Corchiani shoot down skeptics

January 24, 1991|By Ron Green Jr. | Ron Green Jr.,Knight-Ridder

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina State caught Duke in the Devils' stomping ground again.

The Wolfpack turned Reynolds Coliseum into a roaring snake pit last night, beating ninth-ranked Duke 95-89 for the fifth straight time on its homecourt.

N.C. State shot holes in the argument it doesn't have enough depth to contend in the ACC this season. As long as the Wolfpack has guards Rodney Monroe and Chris Corchiani and a little help from their friends, it showed it has enough.

Monroe, who played his high school ball at St. Maria Goretti in Hagerstown, scored 35 points in another dazzling performance, while Corchiani gave a demonstration in the art of point guard play. Corchiani sliced through Duke's biting defensive pressure, dishing out 14 assists against two turnovers and added five steals and 11 points.

The Wolfpack shot 63 percent for the game against a Duke team that had been holding its opponents to 43 percent shooting. It wasn't a case of the Blue Devils playing poorly. Though Duke was fighting to regain the emotional high of its 14-point victory over North Carolina Saturday, the Blue Devils hit the Wolfpack with some hard shots. But every time, N.C. State had a harder response.

"I don't know how we can play any better," N.C. State coach Les Robinson said.

It was enough to make the Wolfpack (10-4, 3-1) a major player in the ACC regular-season race heading into a game at Maryland on Saturday.

At the same time, it ended Duke's five-game winning streak and knocked the Blue Devils (15-4, 4-2) out of the league lead going to Clemson on Saturday.

"To beat State would have taken an extraordinary effort," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "It wasn't a game we lost. They won it. We made big plays and played hard but we just weren't good enough."

Christian Laettner led Duke with 23 points, and point guard Bobby Hurley had an often spectacular game. Hurley scored 18, hitting his first six three-point attempts, and handed out 10 assists.

This one began building a few days ago when several hundred N.C. State students began camping out for tickets. Corchiani and Monroe took special note of the fans during the week and then made it worth their while.

The old arena thundered with noise all evening as the game went back and forth at a furious pace. Robinson stalked the sidelines, exhorting his team until his face turned as red as his sweater.

The Wolfpack struck early, building a 10-point lead in the first eight minutes. Twice in the first half, N.C. State was able to stretch its lead to 13 before taking a 47-41 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Having struggled with Robinson's motion offense much of the season, it all fell together against Duke and the contributions were spread among all five starters. Forward Bryant Feggins scored 17, center Kevin Thompson had 16 and Tom Gugliotta finished with 14, including two crushing three-pointers during a decisive second-half run.

Duke had tied the game 53-53 but, shortly thereafter, Gugliotta hit two three-pointers set up by Corchiani steals. Almost every time thereafter when Duke would lunge, Monroe or someone would allow the Wolfpack to dance away. The Blue Devils got no closer than four in the final minute.

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