No. 8 N.C. State remains unbeaten, tops Clemson 54-51

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Kiara Leslie scored 13 points, Elissa Cunane added 11 and Erika Cassell 10 as N.C. State remained undefeated with a 54-51 win over Clemson on Thursday night.

Leslie scored seven points in the third quarter as N.C. State (19-0, 6-0 ACC) turned a one-point deficit into a 48-39 lead heading into the final period. DD Rogers had 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Wolfpack, who overcame 21 turnovers to remain the only undefeated team in the nation.

Simone Westbrook scored 18 points, and Aliyah Collir had 13 points and 13 rebounds, but was held scoreless over the final 4 minutes, 23 seconds, as Clemson (14-6, 5-2), had its five-game winning streak snapped.

The Tigers used their defense to take the lead late in the game, holding N.C. State without a field goal for the first 8:17 of the fourth quarter, turning an 11-point deficit into a one-point lead.

Westbrook made three consecutive layups to give the Tigers a 51-50 lead as Clemson capitalized on six fourth-quarter turnovers by the Wolfpack. Then the Tigers’ struggled on offense, failing to score a point over the game’s final 4:23.

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N.C. State guard Aislinn Konig hit a layup with 1:43 remaining to reclaim the lead for good at 52-51, and Leslie added a backdoor layup off an inbounds play to stretch the advantage to 54-51.

BIG PICTURE

Clemson: The end of the five-game winning streak coincides with the start of a brutal stretch of the Tigers’ schedule. Thursday’s game was the first of three straight games against top-10 opponents as No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 4 Louisville await, so Clemson will get a great idea of how it matches up against the best teams in the nation.

N.C. State: After flirting with disaster in an overtime win over Virginia Tech on Sunday, the Wolfpack survived a serious challenge to its depth. Clemson wears down opponents by using a full-court press for the entire game, but N.C. State didn’t wither, despite a rotation that has been shortened by three season-ending knee injuries to key players.

UP NEXT

Clemson: Gets a week off before playing host to No. 1 Notre Dame on Thursday, Jan. 31.

N.C. State: Visits Georgia Tech on Sunday after playing three of the last four at home.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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