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Updated: Thursday, January 13, 2005 10:40 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(5) Duke 86 , No Carolina St 74

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- On a team loaded with stars, former walk-on Lee Melchionni came to the rescue as No. 5 Duke remained undefeated.

Melchionni scored a career-high 16 points and Shelden Williams added 18 of his 22 in the second half as Duke rebounded from a slow start to defeat North Carolina State, 86-74, in an Atlantic Coast Conference contest.

"It's been our problem all year - getting off to a slow start and working our way in," Williams said. "We knew we had to make some chances at halftime. We all came together. I had two fouls, J.J. (Redick) had two fouls and Daniel (Ewing) had two fouls. We had to go out there like we didn't have any fouls.

"We got a great job from our bench. Lee Melchionni stepped up. David McClure stepped up. We kept it close and then in the second half, we found our rhythm and took it from there."

With Duke's stars struggling in the first half, Melchionni - who was awarded a scholarship after his freshman season - scored eight points on 3-of-3 shooting, including two from the arc. Still, the Blue Devils trailed, 41-38, at the break.

"We had opportunities in the first half to have a greater lead than three points and did not capitalize," North Carolina State coach Herb Sendek said. "We did not stop them in the second half and we had no answer for Shelden Williams."

DeMarcus Nelson scored 15 points in 28 minutes off the bench for the Blue Devils, who shot 57 percent (17-of-30) in the second half and turned the ball over just three times. They collected 32 points in the paint in the second half after scoring just 10 in the first 20 minutes.

After Williams scored on a layup, Melchionni nailed a 3-pointer and then followed a miss with a layup that gave Duke (12-0, 2-0 ACC) a 55-49 lead with just over 12 minutes to play.

A junior, Melchionni finished 6-of-9 from the floor - including 3-of-6 from 3-point range - in 25 minutes before fouling out with just under three minutes remaining.

Melchionni's output was needed since Ewing was just 4-of-12 and Redick was limited to eight points on 1-of-5 shooting. The ACC's leading scorer, Redick was held without a 3-pointer, snapping his streak of 24 straight games.

"We knew that they would play with a fourth guard like Melchionni, but he created a mismatch," Sendek said. "He and Nelson hit some big threes in the first half."

Williams shot 8-of-12 and grabbed six rebounds and Ewing added 17 for Duke, which has won 41 of its last 51 ACC road games.

"They played some great defense and, in the first half, they didn't allow us to get the ball inside to Shelden Williams," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Cameron Bennerman scored nine of his 20 points in the first four minutes of the game and Julius Hodge added 13 overall for North Carolina State (10-5, 0-2), which has lost four straight for the first time since the 1999-00 season.

"One positive is that Engin Atsur did a remarkable job against J.J. Redick," Sendek said. "I feel good about our men, but I don't feel good about this stretch that we're in. It makes my stomach churn."

Behind Bennerman and freshman Gavin Grant's seven points, the Wolfpack was able to overcome a poor first-half performance from Hodge, who leads the team in scoring, rebounding and assists. Hodge was shut out in all three categories for the first 12 minutes.

Duke is 12-0 for the third time in the last four years and one of four remaining unbeaten teams, joining Illinois, Boston College and Kansas.

"I really love my team and they are so much fun," Krzyzewski said. "They're not (Christian) Laettner or (Elton) Brand, but they make plays. I enjoy watching the evolution of this team and I'm just so proud of what they are accomplishing."


© 2005 STATS, Inc
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