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NC State never led in Saturday’s contest at the Donald L. Tucker Center, but gave 18th-ranked Florida State all it wanted in a 78-73 victory for the Seminoles.
FSU (23-6, 11-5 ACC) led 35-30 at halftime and by as many as nine in the second half, but the Wolfpack (20-9, 8-8 ACC) evened the game at 63 on consecutive 3-pointers from Markell Johnson and Braxton Beverly with under seven minutes to play.
The game remained close down the stretch. After a Johnson trey with under a minute to go, NC State trailed 76-73 with eight seconds left when Beverly was fouled. Beverly missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and FSU’s Mfiondu Kabengele grabbed the rebound and proceeded to knock down two free throws to ice the game.
Kabengele led the Seminoles with 16 points and five rebounds while M.J. Walker added 15 points on an efficient 4-for-6 from the field. Trent Forrest scored 13 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds. Terance Mann added 11 points in the victory.
FSU shot 48 percent compared to 41 percent for the Wolfpack, but NC State did shoot 9-for-19 from deep. The Seminoles held a 37-30 rebounding edge, but turned the ball over 16 times to 12 for NC State.
D.J. Funderburk led the Wolfpack with game-highs of 18 points and nine rebounds. Johnson finished with 14 points and was responsible for three makes from deep. Torin Dorn added 12 points and six rebounds in the loss.
The victory for FSU was its 10th in 11 games as it prepares to host Virginia Tech on Tuesday. The winner will get a top-4 seed and a double-bye in the ACC Tournament. NC State will host Georgia Tech for Senior Night on Wednesday.
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