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Dec. 8, 2002

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AP Sports Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. – Julius Hodge scored a career-high 26 points and Marcus Melvin added 18 as North Carolina State found its offense in the nick of time to beat South Carolina 76-64 Sunday night.

The Wolfpack (4-0) trailed for all but one possession of the opening 30 minutes before Hodge and Melvin keyed a 17-3 run that helped put away the Gamecocks (4-2).

Hodge hit two 3-pointers and converted a three-point play on a reverse layup in a span of 67 seconds, while Melvin had two 3-pointers in the run as N.C. State took a 62-54 lead with 6:39 left.

The spurt came just minutes after Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek was called for a technical foul.

South Carolina, led by former Wake Forest coach Dave Odom, closed to within four, but Melvin hit a follow shot and Hodge added a free throw and a layup as the Wolfpack went up 67-58 with less than four minutes remaining.

South Carolina never got closer than seven the rest of the way as N.C. State improved to 32-3 against nonconference teams at the RBC Center.

The Gamecocks managed just 13 points over the final 10:18.

Hodge was 9-for-15 from the field and 6-of-8 from the foul line. His previous best was 21 points twice last season. Meanwhile, Melvin was coming off a career-high 23 against Northwestern on Wednesday night.

Carlos Powell led South Carolina with 19 points.

The game was delayed 23 minutes midway through the first half by a power outage.

The Wolfpack missed 13 of its first 15 shots from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes, but sank 7 of 9 from behind the arc to start the second half.

The Gamecocks helped N.C. State stay close in the first half after leading by as many as eight, turning the ball over six times in a seven-minute span.

Hodge had 13 of N.C. State’s first 23 points as few of the other N.C. State players could find their touch against South Carolina’s matchup zone defense.