Jan. 29, 2005
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By PETE IACOBELLIAP Sports Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Engin Atsur had a career-high 21 points and led North Carolina State to its best shooting performance of the season in an 80-70 victory over Clemson on Saturday.
Atsur hit five of the Wolfpack’s 13 3-pointers and helped them shoot 62.8 percent (27 of 43) from the field, a shade better than the 62.7 percent (32 of 51) they shot in their win over East Carolina in November.
Julius Hodge added 20 points for North Carolina State (13-7, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), the second time this season two Wolfpack players hit for at least 20 points in a game.
Clemson (10-10, 1-7) lost its fifth in a row and seventh of its past eight games.
Atsur and Georgetown transfer Tony Bethel got the long-range shooting started. The two combined for 17 straight points, including five threes, as North Carolina State moved in front 25-24.
The pair, this time joined by Ilian Evtimov, got it going again from the outside in the second half. Down 46-42, Evtimov, Bethel and Atsur hit consecutive threes to open a 20-2 run that gave North Carolina State control for good.
Atsur added two inside drives, Evtimov another three and Hodge a jam. When Evtimov hit his third 3-pointer of the half for a 65-50 lead with 8:15 to go, the Wolfpack looked ready to pile it on.
But Clemson twice cut the lead to six points down the stretch, the last time on Shawan Robinson’s jumper with 3:27 remaining that pumped up the small crowd who school officials let in for free because a fierce Southern ice storm made driving treacherous.
However, Atsur’s final three – a quick jumper from about 24 feet away – put North Carolina State ahead 73-63 in the final two minutes and effectively ended the Tigers’ chances.
North Carolina State hit 13 of 20 threes. Atsur surpassed his previous career best of 20 points, set last season against Florida State.
Sharrod Ford led Clemson with 19 points and 10 rebounds. However, he made only 1 of 8 foul shots.
North Carolina State point guard Bethel had 14 points in his first serious action since contracting the flu and colitis, an illness that caused him to lose 15 pounds and miss four games this month – three of them losses.
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