Final - OT
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Costner, Wolfpack bounce Duke from ACC Tournament

Mar 9, 2007 - 6:31 AM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Brandon Costner and Engin Atsur teamed up to hand Duke a rare defeat.

Costner was dominant in the post and Atsur heated up in the second half as North Carolina State posted an 85-80 overtime victory over No. 21 Duke in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Duke (22-10) had won 23 of its last 24 ACC Tournament games, with the lone loss coming to Maryland in the 2004 final. Winners of eight of the last nine tournament titles, the Blue Devils entered the game with the Wolfpack seeded No. 7, their lowest since earning a ninth seed in 1995.

It has been an atypical year for Duke, and Costner turned in a performance not typical of a freshman. He scored a season-high 30 points, repeatedly getting free in the paint and torching the Blue Devils.

"It was just a lot of pick-and-rolls and it just happened that the man they were switching off to was smaller than me," Costner said. "It just happened that I got the most shots today and got to take advantage of the mismatches."

He was 10-of-17 from the field, 10-of-11 from the free-throw line and added seven rebounds to help send Duke to its first loss in the first round of the ACC Tournament since 1997.

"I thought we played a very solid ballgame, both physically and mentally, but more importantly mentally," Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe said. "We talked about needing to make a couple of runs and these guys did a great job of that against pressure defense."

Costner had 16 of his points in the first half while Atsur, a senior, was nowhere to be found. Duke held a 34-29 lead at the break as Atsur was scoreless and 0-of-4 from the field.

"We were patient and we let the game come to us," Atsur said. "We didn't care who shot the ball and in the first half they were switching the pick-and-roll so we tried to throw back the ball and go inside."

Atsur found his game in the second half and overtime, scoring all of his 21 points.

"They made some adjustments and we made some adjustments, so I was able to get some shots up in the second half," Atsur said.

Costner started the overtime with a three-point play to give the Wolfpack (16-14) a 73-70 lead. They never trailed thereafter and Costner and Atsur both made a pair of free throws in the final minute to ice the game.

"We came out and wanted to get off to a good start (in the overtime)," Costner said. "(Josh) McRoberts gave me the lane and I took it and I got the three-point play. It gave us a lot of energy and a lot of confidence going into the rest of overtime."

Greg Paulus scored 18 points and McRoberts and DeMarcus Nelson each added 17 for Duke, which committed 18 turnovers that led to 23 points for N.C. State.

Duke allowed N.C. State to shoot 61 percent (31-of-51) and score 48 points in the paint.

"Right now, we're not providing very many obstacles to an opponent on the defensive end of the court," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We have not played well defensively for two weeks."

With Atsur coming to life on offense in the second half, the Wolfpack quickly erased Duke's lead and the game featured nine lead changes and eight ties after the break.

Duke took a 68-67 lead with 1:50 left in regulation on a three-point play by Martynas Pocius. Atsur answered with a 3-pointer 20 seconds later. Nelson hit a layup off an inbounds pass with 41 seconds remaining to tie the game at 70-70 and force overtime.

Pocius scored a career-high 14 points and helped pick up the slack for Duke, which was playing without freshman Gerald Henderson, who was suspended for elbowing North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough at the end of Saturday's 86-72 loss.