N.C. State escapes Boston College with 78-73 win

jgiglio@newsobserver.comJanuary 6, 2013 

— N.C. State won on the road on Saturday but did not play well in its first ACC game.

That was the analysis of their coach, Mark Gottfried, but a mistake-filled win still beats the alternative.

Scott Wood’s 12 points in the final 3 minutes and 45 seconds helped No. 23 N.C. State edge Boston College, 78-73, in the ACC opener.

The Eagles got 22 points from sophomore forward Ryan Anderson and 18 from freshman guard Joe Rahon to give N.C. State everything it wanted and more.

It wasn’t until Rahon’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim with 2.5 seconds left that the Wolfpack (12-2, 1-0 ACC) could exhale.

“There were a lot of lessons we could learn with a happy face,” Gottfried said. “We could have got on the bus with our dauber down.”

Dauber? To translate Gottfried’s colloquialism, N.C. State made mistakes but got away with it, thanks to Wood’s clutch shooting and a season-best 19 points from freshman Rodney Purvis.

With 48.8 seconds left, Wood came off of a screen from forward Richard Howell at the foul line and popped behind the 3-point line. Wood buried the shot over Rahon’s outstretched arm to give State a 72-68 cushion.

“I told him to get some 3s going,” said junior guard Lorenzo Brown, who finished with 14 points and eight assists. “Once that first one goes down, it’s going to be a problem. He proved me right.”

The late four-point lead seemed safe, especially with Wood hitting his free throws, but C.J. Leslie fouled Anderson with 27.1 second left to give BC a 3-point play and then Purvis fouled BC’s Patrick Heckmann on a 3-point attempt with the Pack clinging to a 74-71 lead.

Heckmann made the first and last of his three free throws with 18.9 seconds left but missed the second. Up 74-73, Wood went to the free-throw line and made two more and then two more after Rahon’s last missed 3 to seal the game.

Wood had spent the first 36 minutes as a non-factor. He didn’t score in the first half and then went to the bench with his fourth foul with 14:33 left in the second half.

The senior guard came back in with about 5 minutes left and then hit his first shot, a 3-pointer, with 3:45 left.

“The first shot, I was a little anxious,” Wood said. “Once I knocked one down, I kind of had my confidence.”

N.C. State had to manufacture points with Leslie (10 points) and Howell (12) struggling from the free-throw line, especially in the first half. But State got the late production from Wood and went 21 of 24 from the free-throw line in the second half, after going 4 of 11 in the first half.

The Pack led 29-28 at the break, despite the rocky start. Purvis picked up the scoring slack with three 3-pointers and a 7-of-10 shooting performance. He was aggressive in transition, as he has been all season, but he was sharp from the outside.

“Rodney was really good offensively,” Gottfried said. “He played with great confidence.”

Purvis said before the game he talked with Brown about playing more on instinct and trying to avoid over-thinking.

“I’m just always patient and today was my time,” Purvis said.

It was almost his time to learn from a mistake when he fouled Heckmann and gave him a chance to tie the game, but the Wolfpack avoided the loss.

“We didn’t play particularly well but we executed down the stretch at some key times,” Gottfried said. “We overcame a lot of our own mistakes.”

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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