Men's College Basketball
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No. 16 NC State squeaks past UNC-Asheville

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Richard Howell hit a go-ahead bucket late, then sank two free throws in the final seconds, the last of his 23 points, as No. 16 North Carolina State escaped with an 82-80 victory over UNC-Asheville at PNC Arena.

Howell added a game-best 15 rebounds and Lorenzo Brown totaled 18 points for the Wolfpack (4-1), who recovered from a four-point loss to Oklahoma State last Sunday.

Jeremy Atkinson's game-high 28 points weren't enough for the Bulldogs (1-5), losers of five straight since a season-opening win against Western Carolina. Keith Hornsby had 23 points, thanks to 4-of-6 shooting beyond the arc, in the narrow setback.

Howell's layup and free throw finally put NC State back on top by a 71-69 count as the clock ticked down to the three-minute mark in regulation. A Scott Wood make pushed the advantage to four before Trent Meyer's three made it a one-point game.

Wood countered with a triple and Brown added two from the line, then Howell made the second of two free throws for a 79-72 game inside of 30 seconds to play. But Hornsby connected from long distance, then Brown made 1-of-2 at the charity stripe ahead of a three-point play from Hornsby that drew UNCA to 80-78 with 17 seconds left.

Howell followed by sinking his next two foul shots for a four-point edge with five ticks left, and a Sam Hughes layup as time ran out was the Bulldogs' only answer.

The visitors scored the game's first six points, and led 9-3 with 3 1/2 minutes played.

Howell's dunk later knotted the score at 22-22, but UNCA ripped off a 15-8 run -- as Hornsby and Atkinson hit back-to-back buckets to ignite the spurt -- and went up 37-30 after Atkinson's triple, which was the last of three consecutive baskets.

It was 37-34 for UNCA at the break.

Hornsby's long-range bucket gave the Bulldogs a 55-50 edge with just over seven minutes gone in the second half, and Atkinson's successful shot with 8 1/2 to play made it 64-57 for the visitors.

Howell's lay-in capped a short burst for the hosts which forged a 66-66 deadlock, then Atkinson's hoop and foul shot pushed UNCA back up by three.

Game Notes

NC State will take on Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday ... The Wolfpack have won all 18 meetings against their in-state rival ... C.J. Leslie picked up 14 points and 11 boards for the Wolfpack, who also recorded five steals and four blocks as a team.

11/23 22:36:38 ET