GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Ishua Benjamin scored a season-high 25 points as
North Carolina State overcame a miserable start to the second half to edge
Florida State 65-63 in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference
tournament Thursday night.
The No. 8 seed Wolfpack (16-13) started the second period 1-for-13 from the
field to fall behind by eight, but went on an 18-0 run to advance to the second
round against No. 4 North Carolina, a team they upset 86-72 less than two weeks
ago in Chapel Hill.
The Seminoles (17-13) dropped their seventh straight ACC tourney game and
six of their last seven regular season games after being ranked as high as No.
13 on Jan. 5.
Florida State, the No. 7 seed, played all but one minute of the second half
without leading scorer Terrell Baker, who suffered a deep shoulder bruise in
the opening 20 minutes and didn’t score.
Benjamin, who scored 14 in the first half, sparked the Wolfpack with seven
straight points after its shooting woes to pull within one before C.C. Harrison
closed out the 18-0 run with a nine-point surge and N.C. State led 51-41 with
Eight of the 18 Wolfpack points came off Florida State turnovers as the
Seminoles were held scoreless for a six-minute stretch.
Florida State closed to 64-63 after the Wolfpack missed four free throws and
LaMarr Greet nailed an off-balanced 3-pointer with nine second left. But Kenny
Inge made a free throw three seconds later and Tim Wells, inserted for defense
in the final seconds, blocked Kerry Thompson’s layup attempt at the buzzer to
secure the Wolfpack victory.
Benjamin’s previous season high was 22 against Clemson on Jan. 31. The
senior was 9-for-9 from the foul line to extend his consecutive foul-shooting
streak to 33.
Harrison added 15 points for the Wolfpack, while LaMarr Greer had 18 for
The Seminoles had outrebounded the Wolfpack a combined 73-38 in 68-55 and
64-52 wins during the regular season, but N.C. State held its own on the boards
this time around.