Thursday, January 23, 2003

N.C. State 80, No. 3 Duke 71

RALEIGH, N.C. - Clifford Crawford had endured more than half of North Carolina State's 13-game losing streak against No. 3 Duke, so the senior wasn't about to let go of the game ball in the locker room. Crawford scored 21 points and Julius Hodge added 18 as the Wolfpack snapped its five-year skid against the Blue Devils with an 80-71 victory Wednesday night.

"I am just going to keep this with me," Crawford said as he hugged the ball. "I might even sleep with this tonight."

The Blue Devils (12-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) were the nation's top-ranked team a week ago, but lost their second straight conference game for the first time since 1997. Duke fell to No. 12 Maryland by 15 points on Saturday.

"He played like a real veteran," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Crawford, who had six assists. "My hat goes off to him. He was really good and he hasn't been hitting like that. When you win games like this you need people to step up. I thought they had that."

Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek was 1-15 against Duke in his career - his only win coming in the 1997 ACC tournament. But the Wolfpack (10-4, 3-1) pulled off the upset with some clutch outside shooting and Crawford's overall play.

"This is a special night for us because we have such great respect for the Duke program and all that they've been able to accomplish," Sendek said. "But you've got to move on and play your next game. We have to stay grounded and we have to keep working and live up to the things we preach every day."

Crawford came in 3-for-12 from 3-point range this season, but he was 4-of-5 from long range in this one, and his defense in the second half on Duke 3-point ace J.J. Redick was key.

Redick burned the Wolfpack with 20 first-half points, but was held to four in the second half as Duke faded down the stretch.

"We knew we were good enough to beat this team," Hodge said. "We didn't look at them as a Final Four team we were playing against or they won the national championship two years ago. We looked at them as we would Florida State or Maryland or anyone else on our schedule."

N.C. State led 59-58 with 5:56 left when Hodge started a 9-0 run that would turn the game around. He hit a twisting layup, and Crawford followed with a 3-pointer and a layup as the Wolfpack went up by 10.

The Wolfpack, the second-best free throw shooting team in the ACC, then went 13-of-16 from the foul line over the final 1:42 to seal it.

Marcus Melvin was 9-of-10 from the line over the last 2:03 as the Blue Devils dropped two straight for the first time since the opening two games of the 1999-2000 season.

"Cliff gave us what a senior should," Melvin said. "He stepped up in a big game, he knocked down shots and he got people the ball. He played his game right. Hopefully, this can be a great lift for him."

N.C. State used a 14-3 run to start the second half to take its first lead. Hodge started the spurt with a three-point play, while Scooter Sherrill and Crawford nailed 3-pointers, forcing Krzyzewski to call a timeout to try to quiet the crowd and regroup his club.

The Wolfpack faced adversity seconds later when Melvin picked up his third and fourth fouls in a 10-second span and the Blue Devils went on a 9-0 run to regain the lead, setting up a tense final 10 minutes in the 219th meeting of the rivals.

Duke took a 17-7 lead as the Wolfpack didn't score for the opening 4:34 before making seven of eight shots to get back into it.

However, the Wolfpack defense couldn't control Redick outside as the freshman guard had 20 of his team's first 36 points.

Two of Redick's four first-half 3-pointers were from NBA range. He also made all six of his free throws as Duke grabbed a five-point halftime lead with Krzyzewski going with his ninth different starting lineup.

Redick was 5-for-7 from the field in the opening 20 minutes while the rest of the Blue Devils were a combined 5-of-17.

"He shot us out of the zone in the first half," Crawford said. "Coach looked at me in the second and said, `That's enough of Redick.' I just couldn't let him come in our building and light us up."

DUKE (12-2)-Horvath 3-3 0-0 7, Redick 7-14 6-6 24, Ewing 3-9 7-7 13, Duhon 1-9 1-2 4, Jones 3-8 2-4 10, Buckner 0-0 0-0 0, Dockery 1-3 0-0 2, Sanders 0-1 1-2 1, Williams 2-3 4-5 8, Randolph 0-3 2-4 2. Totals 20-53 23-30 71.

N.C. STATE (10-4)-Sherrill 3-8 0-0 8, Hodge 5-8 8-12 18, Crawford 7-11 3-6 21, Powell 2-5 1-2 5, Melvin 2-5 11-12 15, Bennerman 0-0 0-0 0, Watkins 3-7 2-2 10, Collins 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 23-46 25-34 80.

Halftime-Duke 39-34. 3-Point goals-Duke 8-26 (Redick 4-9, Jones 2-4, Horvath 1-1, Duhon 1-6, Randolph 0-2, Ewing 0-4), N.C. State 9-21 (Crawford 4-5, Sherrill 2-5, Watkins 2-6, Collins 1-2, Powell 0-1, Melvin 0-2). Fouled out-Jones. Rebounds-Duke 33 (Duhon, Williams 7), N.C. State 28 (Sherrill 6). Assists-Duke 13 (Duhon 6), N.C. State 16 (Hodge, Crawford 6). Total fouls-Duke 30, N.C. State 21. A-19,048.

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