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Iowa holds off N.C. State in sloppy affair

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- An awful shooting night and a season-high
in turnovers weren't enough to spoil Iowa's victory over North
Carolina State.

The Hawkeyes (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) shot a season-low 30 percent, had 19
turnovers, but held on down the stretch to beat North
Carolina State (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) 45-42 Wednesday night in the final game of the
ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

"Our offense was absolutely terrible," said Iowa guard Jeff
Horner, who had 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting. "It was an ugly
win, and sometimes you have to do that. I was just happy the team
was able to pull it out in the end."

North Carolina State (5-1) gave the Hawkeyes plenty of chances.

The Wolfpack also recorded season lows for shooting, hitting
just 34 percent -- including 50 percent from the free throw line --
and committed a season-high 24 turnovers, which led to 17 Iowa
points.

But down by five with 1:17 left, the Wolfpack pulled within
three when Andrew Brackman put back his own miss. Iowa failed to
score on its ensuing possession, giving North Carolina State a
final chance to tie, but Ilian Evtimov's desperation 3-pointer from
the baseline bounced off the rim just before the buzzer.

Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said sound, relentless defense had
more to do with dictating the tone of the game than sluggish
offense.

"Somebody else who says the milk box is half full will say
'Coach, can you remember a game where two teams dug in, guarded
every cut and every screen and every bounce of the ball with the
tenacity they did tonight?", Sendek said. "There wasn't anything
out there by either team that wasn't challenged."

Adam Haluska led Iowa with 18 points, including consecutive
baskets down the stretch.

"The thing I'm pleased about is you can shoot 29 percent, you
can turn it over 19 times, and beat a ranked opponent," said Iowa
coach Steve Alford. "It was a slugfest by both teams that couldn't
make a shot."

Cedric Simmons led the Wolfpack (5-1) with 13 points, 13
rebounds and a career-high six blocked shots. Evtimov added eight
points on 3-of-12 shooting.

Both teams struggled shooting the ball early in the second half.
Haluska's basket off a drive down the lane at the 14:43 mark was
the first field goal after the break.

The Wolfpack, fueled by six points from Simmons, answered
quickly with a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to grab a 35-31
lead. But Iowa came back to tie at 35 when Mike Henderson sank a
pair of free throws with 7:42 to go, setting off a 10-3 run.

The game opened with plenty of action on both ends of the floor.
Iowa quickly opened a 9-2 lead behind Horner's shooting, only to
see the Wolfpack come back to tie it at 11 when Brackman sank a
free throw at the 10:13.

Simmons helped lead the rally defensively with five blocked
shots in the first nine minutes. The pace settled at the midway
point as both teams went into extended shooting slumps and bouts of
careless ballhandling.

But with 6:35 left in the half, Doug Thomas hit a free throw to
tie the game at 16, and the Hawkeyes closed with a 9-6 run to take
a 25-22 lead at the break.

"My dad kind of summed it up best when he came into the locker
room afterward and said 'They were just three points uglier than we
were," Haluska said.