RALEIGH, N.C. -- Scott Wood's putback with 2.1 seconds left lifted North Carolina State past Delaware State 72-70 on Wednesday night.
Richard Howell scored a career-high 16 points, C.J. Leslie had 15 and DeShawn Painter added a career-high 14 for the Wolfpack (7-4). They led by 13 late in the first half but needed some drama to hold off the pesky Hornets.
Casey Walker scored 20 points and hit four 3-pointers for Delaware State (4-6), and his free throw with 37.2 seconds left tied it at 70.
Javi Gonzalez called a timeout for N.C. State with 33.3 seconds left, and the Wolfpack ran down the clock before Lorenzo Brown made his move with about 10 seconds left. He found Ryan Harrow, whose 3-pointer from the corner bounced off the iron. Wood grabbed the rebound and put it back for his only points of the night.
Jay Threatt's desperation 3 from midcourt was on line but bounced off the front of the rim as the buzzer sounded.
That helped N.C. State dodge a serious scare and improve to 22-0 against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
The Hornets got back in it by holding N.C. State to one field goal during the first 5 1/2 minutes of the second half, then used a 20-8 to take their first lead since shortly before halftime. Washington's 3-pointer put Delaware State up 64-62 with 4:54 to play.
The Hornets don't have a player taller than 6-foot-8 on the roster, but are the MEAC's best 3-point shooting team. They hit nearly 41 percent of their 3s on 9 of 22 shooting from beyond the arc.
The bigger Wolfpack held a 35-31 rebounding advantage and outscored Delaware State 44-18 in the paint.
The Wolfpack were once again without all-Atlantic Coast Conference forward Tracy Smith, who missed his ninth straight game while recovering from a knee injury.
Neither team led by more than three until late in the first half, when the Wolfpack started pounding the ball into the post to the 6-9 Painter, the 6-8 Leslie and the 261-pound Howell. Behind them, N.C. State scored on 11 consecutive trips downcourt and used a 13-2 run to stretch the lead to 13. Howell's three-point play made it 39-26 with 1 minute left.