State hopes 10th ACC win equals NCAA bid


GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Josh Powell had 18 points, and Scooter
Sherrill and Marcus Melvin added 15 each as North Carolina State
helped its NCAA hopes by beating Georgia Tech 71-65 in the ACC
tournament Friday.

Herb Sendek improved to 6-1 in opening games as the
fourth-seeded Wolfpack (17-11) advanced to the Atlantic Coast
Conference semifinals for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

N.C. State will play No. 1 seed Wake Forest (24-4) Saturday. The
ninth-ranked Demon Deacons beat Florida State 69-61 in the opening
quarterfinal game and swept the Wolfpack twice during the regular

Meanwhile, the fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets (14-14) dropped six
of eight since a 90-84 upset of Maryland on Feb. 9. Chris Bosh led
the way with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The Wolfpack, in a month-long shooting slump beyond the arc, was
money from there Friday, making 11-of-21 while shooting 50 percent
from the field.

Sherrill scored a combined 14 points in two meetings with
Georgia Tech this season, but he was on his outside game this time,
making five of his first seven shots from 3-point range.

Still, N.C. State trailed 56-51 with 8:35 left and was getting
beat up on the inside before taking the lead with a 9-0 run as
Melvin sank a 3-pointer and a 12-footer, while Powell added a

The Yellow Jackets closed to 62-60 with 3:49 left, but Melvin
sank a 3-pointer and added two key free throws with 36.7 seconds
left that put the Wolfpack up 67-60.

Georgia Tech didn't help its cause by missing 12 of its first 14
shots to fall into an early hole.

The Yellow Jackets stayed within a basket or two before the
Wolfpack closed the half on an 11-4 run as Sherrill and Clifford
Crawford sank 3-pointers. Crawford's came at the halftime buzzer
for a 34-25 N.C. State lead.

Powell, who has played well over the last month of the season,
had his best half of the year, scoring 11 points, grabbing five
rebounds and blocking four shots. The 6-foot-9 center set the tone
early with two rejections in the opening 4:47.

N.C. State could have led by more at halftime, but was just
2-for-7 from the foul line. That's uncharacteristic of the
Wolfpack, who came in having made 90 of its last 102 and whose 77.4
percent mark is the best from the line in the ACC since North
Carolina shot 78.3 percent in 1984.