No. 7 Duke holds on to beat No. 14 NC State, 83-70

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2014 at 8:48 pm •  Published: February 20, 2014

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — With the tension of tournament time coming up, coach Joanne P. McCallie wanted a test for No. 7 Duke.

She can always count on getting one from North Carolina State — even when it looked like another blowout for the Blue Devils.

Tricia Liston scored 24 points and Duke held on to beat No. 14 N.C. State 83-70 on Thursday night.

Haley Peters scored five of her 13 for the Blue Devils (24-3, 11-2 ACC) after the Wolfpack trimmed their 24-point lead to four.

"Exactly what we need," McCallie said. "We need a lot more of those games, the idea of playing a very quality opponent, the idea of a hot shooter that we lost and didn't find, of making incredible plays on our end. ... It's this kind of year for those kind of games."

Alexis Jones and Richa Jackson each scored 12 for Duke, which never trailed and withstood a furious rally to take hold of second place in the conference behind unbeaten and second-ranked Notre Dame. The Blue Devils blocked a season-best eight shots, seven in the first half.

Kody Burke had career highs of 30 points and six 3-pointers for N.C. State (22-5, 9-4), hitting three straight 3s during the rally.

"That's the reason we had a chance," first-year coach Wes Moore said. "She got us back in the game and gave us some momentum, and our kids fed off of that."

Her last one made it 70-66 with 3½ minutes left. But N.C. State came up empty on its next four possessions — either missed shots or turnovers by freshman guards Miah Spencer and Ashley Williams.

"You've obviously used a lot of energy to get there, but we had some momentum and you could feel it," Moore said.

And then Peters hit what Moore called "the big shot."

Her 3-pointer from the corner with 2 minutes left made it a seven-point game. She then stuck back Jones' missed 3 to put Duke up 75-66 with about a minute remaining, and the Blue Devils pulled away for their third straight win in the series.

"We just refocused when it got to a point where they caught back up," Liston said. "We started getting stops on the defensive end. We started locating their shooters."