Feb. 12, 2003
By DAVID DROSCHAK
AP Sports Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. – Levi Watkins scored a season-high 18 points and Julius Hodge’s only field goal was a key one down the stretch as North Carolina State edged Georgia Tech 63-57 Wednesday night.
The Wolfpack (13-7, 6-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) avoided its first three-game losing streak since March 2001 despite going 4-for-22 from 3-point range.
N.C. State also won without a big game from Hodge, the ACC’s second-leading scorer at 18.6. The sophomore was held without a field goal until 1:15 left, but his driving basket in the lane gave the Wolfpack a 59-55 lead.
Hodge finished with nine points, which matched his previous low in an 85-61 loss Jan. 11 in Atlanta.
Watkins previous best was 15, also in that January game against the Yellow Jackets, who were held to a season-low point total.
B.J. Elder was averaging 17.2 in ACC games, but he didn’t score in the first half and was held to eight points as the Yellow Jackets (12-9, 5-5) fell to 0-8 on the road.
Chris Bosh led the Yellow Jackets with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
N.C. State started the second half 0-for-6 with three turnovers and saw its 10-point lead trimmed to one before the first television time out.
Georgia Tech pulled within one two other times, the last time with 4:57 left. But Watkins made a 3-point play to give the Wolfpack a 55-51 lead before Hodge’s big hoop.
Marcus Melvin also added two free throws with 34.1 seconds left and N.C. State clinging to a two-point lead.
The Yellow Jackets got off to another rough start on the road, missing 12 of their first 17 shots to fall behind by seven early.
Georgia Tech pulled to 25-21 later in the period after the Wolfpack struggled for five minutes to score against a zone, but a 10-4 closing run gave N.C. State a 10-point lead at the break.
Hodge was held without a field goal in the opening 20 minutes, but made five free throws during N.C. State’s late spurt to get on the board.