WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Wake Forest finally pushed through a tough second half to finally earn an Atlantic Coast Conference win. And that has left North Carolina State in an usually bad position to start league play under fifth-year coach Mark Gottfried.
Dinos Mitoglou scored 13 of his 15 points after halftime, including the 3-pointer that started the decisive run that helped the Demon Deacons beat the Wolfpack 77-74 on Sunday night.
Devin Thomas added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Demon Deacons (10-5, 1-2 ACC), who had lost tough games to No. 14 Duke and No. 16 Louisville in the past eight days. They used a 10-2 burst midway through Sunday's second half to finally take control and beat the Wolfpack at home for the fourth straight year.
''Definitely it's a relief,'' said freshman Bryant Crawford, who scored 17. ''We've been in two tough conference games. I feel like we had a chance to win, we just let off the gas a couple of minutes early in those games, which caused to lose those.
''But we kept the foot on the gas this game and were able to close it.''
It left the Wolfpack (10-6) with the program's first 0-3 start in ACC play since the 2006-07 season, a hole for a team chasing a fifth straight NCAA Tournament bid.
''I think it's different if you're 0-3 and you're just not very good at all,'' he said. ''I've seen bad teams before. We're not a bad team. We're a good team that's getting better, just don't have a lot to show for it yet in the league.''
Wake Forest led by a point midway through a second half when Mitoglou's 3 off a kickout from Thomas gave the Demon Deacons a cushion. He ended the run with a three-point play, giving Wake Forest a 60-51 lead that eventually reached 11.
The Wolfpack rallied to within 75-72 on freshman Maverick Rowan's 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds left, but Crawford answered with two free throws to make it a two-possession game again and help the Demon Deacons hang on.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack got to the line just 10 times, making six. ... The Wolfpack had a 16-0 run to erase a double-digit hole early in the second half. ... N.C. State shot 54 percent after halftime and 42 percent for the game. ... Rowan finished with 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting. ... Raw freshman Shaun Kirk saw his first action in seven games, tying his season high with three points in a season-high five minutes.
Wake Forest: Wake Forest shot 55 percent after halftime and 43 percent for the game. ... The Demon Deacons made 19 of 28 free throws. ... Wake Forest opened the second half on a 13-0 run.
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N.C. State's Anthony ''Cat'' Barber, the ACC's leading scorer at nearly 23 points per game, finished with 26 points in 40 minutes. It marked the fifth time he has scored at least 26 points this year and the eighth time he played at least 40 minutes.
Mitoglou made three 3s in the second half, helping Wake Forest go 7 for 14 from behind the arc after halftime. Mitchell Wilbekin, who had made 4 of 23 in the past five games, added two of his own in the second half.
''Whenever... any of our 3-point shooters get looks at the basket that they catch, they're ready to shoot, they step into it, they have good technique, we're OK with them shooting the ball,'' Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said.
N.C. State hosts Florida State on Wednesday.
Wake Forest visits Virginia Tech on Wednesday.
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