Tigers Fall to North Carolina State, 86-69


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RALEIGH, NC - Julius Hodge scored 23 points Saturday night, leading North Carolina State to an 86-69 victory over Clemson at Raleigh's RBC Center.


The win was the 200th of State coach Herb Sendek's career.


The victory improves the Wolfpack to 10-3 overall, 3-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It also helps State keep pace with the upper tier of the conference on a day which saw No. 2 Duke beat No. 4 Wake Forest and No. 9 North Carolina upset No. 1 UConn.


Sharrod Ford led Clemson (8-7, 1-3) with a season-high 20 points.


Marcus Melvin added 15 points to the Wolfpack effort, while Scooter Sherrill scored 11 on a night in which State led by as many as 25 points in the second half. Clemson tried to rally, using full-court defensive pressure to get as close as 14 points with nearly four minutes left.


But the Tigers could get no closer, and the Wolfpack coasted to the finish.


"When you come out flat and have no individuals on your team that plays well and you are a good team's home court, it's going to be a long night," said head coach Oliver Purnell. "And we had a long night. But I got to give N.C. State credit. They gathered themselves after a tough loss to Duke."


Olu Babalola and Vernon Hamilton each scored 10 points for Clemson. The Tigers' leading scorer, Chey Christie, was shut out on the night.


The Wolfpack took a 39-22 lead into the halftime break, thanks in large part to a quick spurt at game's beginning.


After Clemson's Sharrod Ford scored the game's first two points, State reeled off the next 14 to take a double-digit lead it wouldn't relinquish. The margin stretched to as many as 18 points, thanks in large part to Hodge's 11 points before the break.


The Tigers were able to claw back within 12, 34-22, late in the half, and twice had the ball with a chance to cut the deficit to 10 or less. But each time Clemson turned the ball over, and State ran the lead back to 17 by the end of the half.

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