WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Bouncing back from an uncharacteristic performance, J.J. Redick had a total effort to help dispatch a dangerous rival.
Redick scored 21 of his 35 points in the second half as fifth-ranked Duke moved a step closer to its sixth Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title in seven years with a 76-69 victory over North Carolina State.
"We expect to be here," Duke senior guard Daniel Ewing said. "We expect to win championships. That is what this program is about."
The Blue Devils (24-5) will meet unranked Georgia Tech in Sunday's championship game.
"When we played them in Atlanta they had just gotten (B.J.) Elder back and he hadn't really found a rhythm," said Redick, who also had six assists. "I think he's playing better now and (Will) Bynum has been playing really well."
After ending the season with a heartbreaking 55-53 loss to Wake Forest, the Wolfpack (19-13) gained momentum in a last-ditch effort for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament by beating Florida State and the Demon Deacons in the first two rounds.
Continuing its hot play, NC State scored eight of the first 12 points in the second half to open a 46-34 advantage.
The Wolfpack still held a 53-49 lead with 12:14 to play when Duke turned to its long-range shooting. Ewing hit a 3-pointer 30 seconds later and Redick made three straight shots from the arc to put the Blue Devils ahead, 61-55, with 9:23 to play.
"My two most veteran players, Daniel and J.J., were fantastic," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "J.J.'s performance was one of the best ever. And Daniel's was right there because he had to guard Julius (Hodge) the whole game.
"Julius is playing the best basketball of his senior year. So it took great performances to beat great performances today. Hopefully, we'll have a little bit left for tomorrow."
Hodge, the 2004 ACC Player of the Year, scored a combined 36 points on 14-of-24 shooting in the Wolfpack's first two games of the tournament. Bothered by Ewing, the senior forward had just 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
Redick, who finished 7-of-12 from the arc, added another 3-pointer five minutes later and made a layup with 1:38 remaining for a 75-65 cushion.
This season's conference player of the year, Redick made 11-of-16 shots overall, bouncing back from a 4-of-17 effort in Friday's 76-64 victory over Virginia.
"You just don't dwell on it," said Redick about overcoming Friday's shooting woes. "You've got to have confidence to take the next shot and step up and play with courage in the next game. I put it behind me, and went out there today and played with confidence."
Shelden Williams had 15 points and nine rebounds and Ewing scored 14 points for Duke, which made 52 percent (16-of-31) in the second half to pull away.
After a strong shooting performance of 52 percent (16-of-31) in the opening 20 minutes, the Wolfpack tired in the second, going 33 percent (8-of-24) from the floor.
"They missed some shots in the second half so you get more defensive rebounds than offensive rebounds," Krzyzewski said. "The sets we were running in motion during the second half put our big guys by the boards and gave the third perimeter guy a run (to the boards). Yesterday we outrebounded our opponent by 24 and today we were being outrebounded by 10 at the half. That was the difference there."
After losing the battle on the boards in the first half, the Blue Devils bounced back and garnered a 35-34 rebounding advantage. Freshman guard DeMarcus Nelson had nine rebounds in 24 minutes.
"DeMarcus has played well," Krzyzewski said. "He has really gotten better and better. He had nine rebounds today, six offensive. That is the thing he does best. The next thing he is learning to do is play defense."
Andrew Brackman scored 13 points and Engin Astur chipped in 12 for NC State, which remains on the "bubble" for a berth into the NCAA Tournament.