Rodney Purvis led a balanced NC State offense with 19 points and the 23rd-ranked Wolfpack held off a feisty Boston College team, 78-73, on Saturday afternoon in the ACC opener at Conte Forum.
Ryan Anderson led the BC effort with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Joe Rahon had 18 points, Lonnie Jackson scored 11 and Olivier Hanlan netted 10.
The Eagles (8-6) were within a point with under a minute remaining, but Scott Wood drilled a 3-pointer to give NC State a 72-68 lead. Anderson answered with a 3-point play to make it 72-71. Wood then hit two free throws with 27 seconds left to get the lead back three.
With 18.9 seconds left, Patrick Heckmann drew a foul from Purvis while shooting a 3-pointer, almost hitting the trey in the process (and fouling out Purvis). He hit 2-of-3 to get the Eagles within one, 74-73.
Wood went back to the line with 16.4 ticks left and hit two more to push the lead back to three, 76-73.
Rahon missed an open 3-pointer in the closing seconds, and Wood put the game away with two free throws.
NC State (12-2) came in as the nation's best shooting team, and the Wolfpack did not disappoint in the first half, hitting 12-of-21 shots en route to taking a 29-28 lead at the break. BC led 22-15 with 8:56 to play after a layup by Eddie Odio, but NC State grabbed the lead with a 12-2 run that featured seven points from Purvis.
The Eagles were hurt by their free throwing shooting, as they were only 24-of-37 (64.9 percent).
"I thought we did a lot of things really well in terms of things that you're going to need to do to win the game," BC coach Steve Donahue said. "I thought we were tough and physical and competed and took care of the basketball, fought through adversity with foul trouble. I thought all that stuff. But to win a game against as talented team as that, we've to do certain things that we typically do, and one of them is shoot foul shots. We're a better foul shooting team than that. That's something that we have to do."
BC's young players -- of the seven players in Saturday's rotation, five are sophomores and two are freshmen -- voiced confidence that this loss will help them in the long run.
"I don't think it's really about the outcome, really. It's just that fact that we just keep getting better every day," Anderson said. "We learn from our mistakes. We made a lot of key mistakes down the stretch. Against a talented team like that, they're going to beat you at it. We just look at it and grow from it and move on to tomorrow."
Added Rahon: "We know we can play with anybody. So, staying close with NC State, maybe should have beaten NC State, we expect to be in that situation. I think in a tight game like this, we're a young team and I think it's teaching us how to win close games. We've just got to be in the element, get in the reps of being in those kind of situations. In the future down the road, it will prove to have helped us. But right now, we're just disappointed we didn't come through."
BC, which fell to 1-7 against ranked teams in 2 1/2 seasons under Donahue, next hits the road for games at Virginia Tech (Wednesday) and Wake Forest (Saturday).
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