Washington Edges NC State, 68-64

Dec. 19, 2004

By TIM KORTE
AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE - Will Conroy and Tre Simmons each scored 12 points and BrandonRoy returned earlier than expected from knee surgery to add 10 points, leadingNo. 18 Washington to a 68-64 victory over No. 12 North Carolina State onSunday.

The Huskies (8-1), off to their best start in seven years, outlasted theWolfpack (8-1) in an exciting finish.

It wasn't the track meet everyone expected, with Washington averaging 89.5points per game and N.C. State at 83.8, nor was it a duel between each team'sstar - Julius Hodge for N.C. State and Nate Robinson for Washington.

Hodge scored 15 points and Robinson was held to seven with five assists.Cameron Bennerman had 16 points for the Wolfpack, while freshman AndrewBrackman added 14.

Simmons scored five points in the final 23 seconds. His three-point play ona breakaway layup put Washington ahead 66-61 with 22 seconds to go. He hit twofree throws to seal it with 0.2 seconds on the clock.

The Huskies avenged a 77-72 loss last season in Raleigh, N.C., but they hadto earn this one. The Wolfpack cut it to 66-64 on Engin Atsur's 3-pointer with12 seconds remaining.

Robinson was fouled in the backcourt with 10 seconds on the clock but missedthe front end of a-and-1, giving the Wolfpack a chance to tie or win it. Hodgedrove on the last play and was met by Simmons, Roy and Robinson.

They slapped his shot away and Simmons came away with the ball, drew a fouland made the free throws.

It was Washington's first game against a ranked non-conference opponentsince Dec. 1, 1998, when the Huskies lost to No. 15 Connecticut 69-48.

It also was one of the school's biggest non-conference games ever, and thearena was packed to the rafters long before tipoff. Students welcomed theWolfpack players, needling them at full volume during pregame stretches.

Roy got a huge cheer when he checked in late in the first half. He wasn'texpected back on the floor for another week at best after tearing a kneeligament in the Great Alaska Shootout semifinals.

Roy had a huge basket late in the game when he caught a rebound in midairoff a missed 10-footer by Simmons and slammed it home. It got the crowdenergized and gave the Huskies a 63-58 lead with 2:35 remaining.

Brackman scored after a rebound and Hodge made one of two free throws tomake it 63-62 with 1:15 to go.

It was the first big test for N.C. State, which coasted at home againstteams likes Elon, Campbell and Liberty. It was also the Wolfpack's first roadgame, kicking off a stretch of five of six away from home.

Seattle SuperSonics coach Nate McMillan, an N.C. State alum, sat behind theWolfpack bench, and Washington fans were on their feet cheering at halftimewhen new football coach Tyrone Willingham was introduced.

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