N.C. State escapes with sloppy win

March 11, 2000|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- North Carolina State moved on in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament last night, albeit stumbling and limping.

The sixth-seeded Wolfpack overcame 23 turnovers, numerous mental mistakes, and three leg injuries to upset third-seeded Virginia, 76-65, in a quarterfinal game. N.C. State (17-11) has only 18 1/2 hours to recoup and play Maryland at 4 p.m. today.

"Our team has weathered some pretty good storms," State coach Herb Sendek said. "We haven't flinched."

The Wolfpack, which had lost seven of eight, failed to finish off the Cavaliers early after holding a 14-point first-half lead.

Scoring on six of its first seven possessions of the second half, Virginia (19-11) pulled ahead 42-40, when Donald Hand knocked all three free throws after getting fouled shooting a three-pointer.

But the Wolfpack pushed back as Kenny Inge's two free throws capped an 8-0 run that gave State a 59-48 lead with 8: 21 left. The Cavaliers closed to 69-65 with 48.3 seconds left but missed their last four shots and took their sixth straight ACC tournament loss.

The victory came at a cost for N.C. State: forward Damon Thornton had to helped off the court favoring his left ankle with 9: 32 remaining. X-rays were negative, and he may be able to play today.

His other frontcourt teammates, Inge and Ron Kelley, both of whom wear knee braces, also had to be taken out of the game at times because of nagging injuries.

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