Torin Dorn scored 19 points, and undefeated North Carolina State held on down the stretch in a 78-74 victory against Mercer on Saturday at Raleigh, N.C.
C.J. Bryce’s 17 points and Markell Johnson’s 16 also helped the Wolfpack (6-0), who won every previous game of a season-opening six-game homestand by double-digit margins.
Djordje Dimitrijevic poured in 25 points (19 in the second half), Jaylen Stowe scored 15 and Ross Cummings had 13 points for Mercer (3-3), which dropped to 0-3 in road games.
NC State scored the first nine points of the second half to build a 46-32 advantage. By the time Johnson dunked for a transition basket and scored seconds later on a breakaway, it was 52-34. Later, it was 61-41.
But aided by making a steady path to the free-throw line and a few baskets by Dimitrijevic, the Bears crept to within 64-59 with 4:53 remaining.
On NC State’s next possession, Cummings fouled out defending Braxton Beverly’s drive. Beverly’s free throw was his only point of the game, and Dorn rebounded and scored when the second foul shot was missed.
It was at 73-68 with 41 seconds to play. Dimitrijevic drove for a layup to make it 76-74 with 7.1 seconds left.
Eric Lockett made two free throws with 5.5 seconds left to seal it.
NC State held a 37-32 halftime lead despite Mercer shooting 55 percent from the field.
The Bears were hindered by 15 first-half turnovers. The Wolfpack might have held a large leader if not for 7-for-13 shooting on free throws.
NC State went to a lineup switch, with Beverly, a sophomore guard, joining the starting group in place of Devon Daniels. However, Beverly picked up two first-half fouls and played only seven minutes before halftime.
Mercer and NC State hadn’t met since 1963.
The starting time for Saturday’s game was pushed back several hours to accommodate fans who wanted to attend NC State’s football game earlier in the day against North Carolina in nearby Chapel Hill.
—Field Level Media