RALEIGH, N.C. — Glen Rice Jr. scored 22 points to help Georgia Tech beat North Carolina State 82-71 on Wednesday night.
Mfon Udofia added 17 for the Yellow Jackets (8-8, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who went on a 19-3 run to end the first half and take control. Georgia Tech led by 11 at halftime, then pushed that margin to 16 points midway through the second half in a surprisingly one-sided win. The Yellow Jackets had lost four straight games, but shot 51 percent and hit 9 of 15 3-pointers to give first-year coach Brian Gregory his first ACC victory.
C.J. Leslie scored 16 points to lead N.C. State (12-5, 1-1), which looked out of rhythm all night en route to handing its own first-year coach — Mark Gottfried — his first league loss. The Wolfpack had won six straight games since falling to top-ranked Syracuse here on Dec. 17.
But N.C. State didn't defend well and didn't shoot well, a bad combination for a team with relatively little margin for error if it hopes to get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.
This was exactly the kind of game that the Wolfpack had to win to reach that goal — at home, against a team that hadn't won since before Christmas. Instead, the Yellow Jackets were the ones who played with more intensity and focus.
Georgia Tech shot 58 percent after halftime to turn away any and every meager comeback attempt by the Wolfpack.
N.C. State pulled to within 45-40 on C.J. Williams' transition layup with 14 minutes left, but Rice answered by losing Williams around a screen and dropping in a runner in the lane. That started another run, this time 11-0 that blew the game open and had the Wolfpack chasing the Yellow Jackets the rest of the night.
Things also got testy during that stretch. Official Roger Ayers whistled Gottfried for a technical foul after a no-call on a missed shot by the Wolfpack. Gottfried, who had just shed his suit jacket in frustration, later yelled across the court at Ayers asking what he did to get the technical and got no response.
Then, during a timeout, Gottfried walked near midcourt and waved his arms to get Ayers' attention at the far baseline, and motioned for Ayers to come talk to him. Ayers shook his head no, then held up a hand as if to say "Stay there."
From there, many fouls on the Yellow Jackets drew loud, sarcastic cheers from an angry Wolfpack crowd while Rice and N.C. State's Richard Howell drew a double technical for jawing at each other before a free throw with 10 minutes left.
Yet Georgia Tech's run continued, with Rice knocking down a tough hanging shot while drawing a foul before Daniel Miller knocked down a jumper over DeShawn Painter to make it 56-40 with 11:14 to play. N.C. State got no closer than 11 again.
The Wolfpack shot just 43 percent, including 5 for 19 from 3-point range.