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Blue Devils vs. Wolfpack

Saturday, March 12, 2005; Page D12

2. Duke [23-5] vs. 7. N.C. State [19-12]

Regular Season Meeting: Duke 86, (at) N.C. State 74, Jan. 13.

Leading Scorer: Shelden Williams, Duke, 22 points.

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Leading Rebounder: J.J. Redick, 7.

Records in ACC tournament: Duke, 73-37; N.C. State 77-41.

Vs. each other in ACC tournament: Duke leads, 13-8.

Back courts: The Wolfpack was able to take advantage of Wake Forest's Chris Paul-less back court in Friday's night's 81-65 upset. Julius Hodge had 22 points, and North Carolina State got a stellar performance from reserve guard Cameron Bennerman, who replaced Georgetown transfer Tony Bethel (groin) in the starting lineup. Bennerman scored 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had five assists. He scored 20 points in the teams' only meeting during the regular season, Duke's 86-74 win in Raleigh on Jan. 13. Duke's J.J. Redick struggled against N.C. State in the regular season, scoring eight points on 1 for 5 shooting. He had averaged 20.5 points and shot 50 percent on three-point attempts in his previous four games against the Wolfpack.

Front courts: Against Wake Forest, the Wolfpack managed to break even on the boards despite missing senior center Jordan Collins, who played only two minutes because of a shoulder injury. Hodge and Bennerman each had eight rebounds, and reserve forward Andrew Brackman had 16 points and four rebounds. The freshman had scored only nine points in his previous four games and hadn't scored 10 or more since January. Forward Ilian Evtimov continued his torrid shooting, making five three-pointers for the third game in a row. All-ACC forward Shelden Williams of Duke had 22 points and six rebounds against the Wolfpack during the regular season, after averaging only seven points and 5.5 rebounds in his previous four games against them.

Coaching/Intangibles: With Wake Forest losing in the quarterfinals, the Blue Devils could possibly steal a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament -- if they advance to tomorrow's ACC championship game. The Blue Devils have dominated N.C. State, winning 22 of the past 25 games. Duke has won the last four games they've played in the ACC tournament.

-- Mark Schlabach

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