Williams, NC State hold off NC Central, 65-60
By JOEDY McCREARY
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) C.J. Williams scored a career-high 21 points, and North Carolina State held on to beat North Carolina Central 65-60 on Sunday.
Ray Willis had 17 points and Dominique Sutton added 15 to lead the Eagles (5-5), who entered with the nation's No. 2 scoring offense. They finished 29 points below their average and dropped their second straight.
The Eagles kept the Wolfpack within striking distance throughout before tightening things up one last time. They used a late 18-6 run to pull within 59-56 on Willis' driving layup with 1:32 left.
Williams and Wood each hit two free throws in the final minute before Sutton hit a layup that made it 63-60 with 8 seconds left. Wood then sealed it with two more free throws with 5.8 seconds.
N.C. State had to work harder than expected for this victory. The Wolfpack didn't lead by more than 13 until there were under 13 minutes left, when Williams' three-point play made it 50-36. Wood added a 3-pointer a minute later to give N.C. State its largest lead, 53-38.
The Wolfpack improved to 12-0 at Reynolds Coliseum since they moved the majority of their home games to the RBC Center in 1999. N.C. State is 2-0 at Reynolds this season with one more game scheduled there, Dec. 29 against Campbell.
Leading scorer C.J. Leslie, hamstrung by foul trouble, finished with three points and was held to single-figure scoring for the first time this season. The Wolfpack's other C.J. - Williams - was there to pick up the scoring slack, surpassing his previous high of 18 midway through the second half.
Things couldn't have started much worse for N.C. Central, which entered averaging nearly 89 points. The Eagles missed their first eight shots and were down 9-0 by the time Willis hit a jumper for their first field goal roughly 6 1/2 minutes in.
The Wolfpack opened the game with a 15-4 run that was capped by DeShawn Painter's three-point play with 12 1/2 minutes before the break. Wood's 3 roughly 3 1/2 minutes later made it a 13-point game at 21-8 -N.C. State's largest lead until the final 13 minutes.
Updated December 11, 2011