ATLANTA -- Scott Wood made five 3-pointers and finished with 22 points, leading North Carolina State past Boston College 78-57 in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Thursday.
NC State (21-11) raced to a 14-0 lead, turned back several runs by the Eagles (9-22), then pulled away in the closing minutes for a must-win in its bid to make the NCAA tournament.
Pickeral: NC State Makes Its Case
NC State has a winning record in the ACC but has been awful against the nation's top teams. The Wolfpack are stating their case for an at-large bid this week, writes Robbi Pickeral. Blog
Wood swished a couple of huge 3s, turning back any hopes of a Boston College comeback. He finished 5-of-9 beyond the arc, sending the Wolfpack into the quarterfinals Friday against Virginia.Boston College finished with the most losses in school history, eclipsing the dubious mark set by the 1988-89 team that went 6-21.Ryan Anderson led the Eagles with 22 points and 12 rebounds.Boston College closed to 43-37 with just under 15 minutes remaining on Anderson's basket, but Wood answered with a pull-up 3. With the Eagles down 48-41, he knocked down another 3 to turn the momentum again.Despite their first winning record in the ACC since 2006, the Wolfpack came into the tournament resting precariously on the NCAA bubble. They knew they needed at least one win in Atlanta, maybe two, to make a true success of Mark Gottfried's first season as coach.NC State was the only team in the conference with all five starters averaging in double figures, but the Wolfpack went with a more unbalanced approach to open the tournament. Lorenzo Brown had 12 points, C.J. Leslie added 11 and DeShawn Painter chipped in with 10 off the bench.Lonnie Jackson, with 10 points, was the only other player in double figures for the offensively challenged Eagles, who shot just 39 percent (22 of 57) from the field.NC State stunned the Eagles and the sparse crowd at Philips Arena by scoring the first 14 points. Boston College missed seven straight shots, turned the ball over five times and needed nearly 7½ minutes to get on the scoreboard.The Eagles were down by as many as 17 in the first half, but they closed the gap when North Carolina State went cold. The Wolfpack missed eight straight shots, allowing Boston College to cut the deficit to 32-24.But sloppiness in the final seconds cost the Eagles dearly. With a chance to set up for the final shot of the half, Boston College turned it over not once, but twice. Brown stripped the ball away from Jordan Daniels and went in for a layup, also drawing a foul on Daniels. Brown missed the free throw and Boston College rebounded, only to have Daniels give it away again.C.J. Williams scooped up the loose ball, took off the other way with the clock running down, pulled up beyond the 3-point arc and swished a jumper as the horn sounded. The Wolfpack, who could've been ahead by only six points, instead went to the locker room with a 37-24 lead.