RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Julius Hodge and Marcus Melvin teamed up to finish an impressive comeback for North Carolina State.
Hodge fed Melvin for a key 3-pointer with 29 seconds left as the Wolfpack rallied from an 18-point deficit to post a 73-68 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over No. 15 Wake Forest.
Hodge and Melvin combined for 27 points after halftime, leading North Carolina State (13-5, 6-2 ACC) back. But their biggest connection came with the Wolfpack nursing a 67-66 lead in the final minute.
NC State forward Ilian Evitmov found Hodge in the lane, but three defenders converged. Hodge turned and found Melvin in the right corner for a 3-pointer that made it 70-66 and sent the RBC Center into a frenzy.
"I just knew he was going to make it," Hodge said. "It was cash money."
"Yeah, I knew," Melvin said. "I shoot the ball so much in practice and when I'm alone."
Melvin collected 20 points and 11 rebounds and Hodge scored 18 points. The Wolfpack limited the Demon Deacons (13-5, 4-4 ACC) to six baskets in the second half.
Scooter Sherrill added 16 points, including eight in a 13-2 run that turned around the game and opened a 67-63 advantage with 3:03 to go. His 3-pointer with 4:42 left forged a 62-62 tie, the game's first since the opening two minutes.
NC State moved into sole possession of second place in the ACC with a 6-2 mark, the best in coach Herb Sendek's 11 seasons. The Wolfpack improved to 11-0 at home and ended the Demon Deacons' three-game winning streak in Raleigh, allowing the seniors - Sherrill and Melvin - to get a monkey off their backs.
"Scooter and Marcus, they hit the big shots, so this is their win," Hodge said. "They haven't beat Wake Forest at home their whole careers."
The Wolfpack, who faced a 46-30 halftime deficit, had their biggest second-half comeback since rallying from a 17-point deficit in a 69-68 triumph over Oregon on December 19, 1992.
"Wake was hitting on all cylinders in the first half and we weren't," Sendek said. "But we just came out in the second half and never quit."
Justin Gray scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half for Wake Forest. He was shut down after halftime on a fine defensive job by Sherrill.
"I think (Sherrill) did a great job," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "They played good team defense overall in the second half."
The Demon Deacons, who have lost four straight road games, dropped into a three-way tie for third with Georgia Tech and Florida State. Wake missed all eight 3-pointers in the second half after a sizzling 6-of-9 start.