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(18) NC STATE 68, ALABAMA 64

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Engin Atsur knew the outcome of the game
rested on his shoulders when he stepped to the free throw line with
25 seconds to play and North Carolina State clinging to a one-point
lead.

It was the first time Atsur or any of his teammates had been to
the line all game. He calmly hit two free throws and the
21st-ranked Wolfpack held on for a 68-64 victory over Alabama on
Thursday night.

"I knew I had to make those free throws for us to win the game.
I felt good shooting those free throws," said Atsur, whose foul
shots came after Alabama had cut an eight-point deficit to 65-64 in
the final 2 minutes.

"We just stayed focused. Everybody was looking out for each
other," said Atsur, who scored 15 points.

Alabama (5-4) had a chance to tie the game when Ronald Steele
put up a 3-pointer with 9 seconds to play. The ball bounced in and
out and the Wolfpack (9-1) held on for the win.

"I can't ask for a better look," Steele said of the missed
shot. "It was a well designed play. I feel like I'd make that shot
nine out of 10 times."

Chuck Davis scored 18 points for Alabama, mostly on layups and
dunks. He scored his 1,000th career point early in the second half.

North Carolina State hit 11 3-pointers to just one for Alabama
and used long range shots to stretch a 33-28 halftime lead to 51-41
with 10:58 to play.

The Crimson Tide tied the score several times in the second
half, but each time the Wolfpack would go on a run sparked by
3-point shooting.

Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said his team's ability to respond to
Alabama runs was the difference in the game.

"Basketball is a game of runs. Our team responded well tonight
when they made their runs. We bent, but did not break," Sendek
said.

Atsur was 3-of-7 from behind the 3-point line, while Ilian
Evtimov, who also scored 15 points, was 4-of-8.

Cameron Bennerman added 14 points for the Wolfpack. Steele had
14 for Alabama.

Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said he was proud of his team for
hanging in until the end against a tough Top 25 team.

"We're 1-of-10 from the 3-point line and we're right there and
have a chance to win at the end of the game," Gottfried said.
"We're down three and Ron had a pretty good shot at the end."