SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Kiara Leslie had 30 points and 10 rebounds, one of three players for No. 12 North Carolina State with a double-double Wednesday night, to help the Wolfpack end a two-game losing streak with a hard-earned 77-73 win over No. 16 Syracuse.
Freshman Elissa Cunane scored 22 points with a career-high 12 rebounds and senior DD Rogers scored a career-high 16 points with 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack (22-2, 9-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their first 21 games before losing to rival North Carolina and at No. 24 Florida State.
Leslie made 5 of 8 free throws in the last 27 seconds, just enough to save the game for the Wolfpack.
There were six ties and 15 lead changes and neither team was ahead by more than six points. Leslie closed the third quarter with a 3-pointer to put N.C. State on top 58-57 and Cunane opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with a layup to make sure the Wolfpack stayed ahead.
Leslie's two free throws at the 1:56 mark had N.C. State on top 72-66. Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi had a layup at the 1:40 for Syracuse and after both teams missed, Tiana Mangakahia cut the deficit to two with a steal and a layup with just under a minute left.
N.C. State grabbed an offensive rebound of its next miss with a half-minute to go but Mangakahia stole the ball and was fouled. However, the 90-percent foul shooter only made the second of two free throws, keeping the Wolfpack on top. Leslie was fouled at 27 seconds and made a pair to push the lead back to 74-71 and Rogers had a black on Mangakahia, who fouled Leslie intentionally. Leslie made 1 of 2 and did the same on the ensuing possessions to make it 76-71 with 10 seconds to go.
Djaldi-Tabdi cut the deficit to 75-73 with a basket at eight seconds but Leslie iced it by going 1 of 2 from the line again.
Mangakahia scored 25 points and had 10 assists for the Orange (18-6, 7-4), which is 3-5 against ranked teams this season and had won four of five in the series before N.C. State won the last meeting in Raleigh on Jan. 14, 2018.