RALEIGH — N.C. State will play No. 1 Duke on Saturday, but Georgia Tech got the Wolfpack's attention on Wednesday.
No. 20 N.C. State needed 21 points from Lorenzo Brown and 20 from Scott Wood to hold off the resilient Yellow Jackets, 83-70 to improve to 2-0 in the ACC and set up Saturday's big game.
The Pack (13-2, 2-0 ACC) had to take care of Georgia Tech first. The Jackets didn't make it easy.
Wood's fourth 3-pointer, a barometer of success in the Mark Gottfried era, gave the Wolfpack a 68-60 lead with 3:58 left, which State was able to turn into a 13-point win.
In the past two seasons, State's 14-0 when Wood makes at least four 3-pointers.
With wins over Boston College and Georgia Tech, N.C. State has shown it can handle the plumbers of the ACC, now it will get two days to prepare for the prince in top-ranked Duke.
It will need more of the same from Brown, who added 10 assists, and junior forward C.J. Leslie, who had 19 points and seven rebounds in a physical contest.
N.C. State tried to create distance midway through the second half with six straight points from Wood to take a 46-43 lead but couldn't capitalize on its momentum.
Leslie missed a dunk at 14:03, which would have extended the Pack's lead to five points and then Tech scored the next four points.
The Jackets led 51-47 with 10:10 left in the game after a runner by freshman guard Solomon Poole over Leslie's out-stretched hand.
State scored the game's next six points to take a 53-51 lead, which prompted a timeout from second-year Tech coach Brian Gregory.
Out of the timeout, Chris Bolden scored on a set play, the first of two straight hoops to knot the game at 55.
A 13-5 run, bookended by a pair of 3s by Wood and a critical 3 by Rodney Purvis at 5:43, gave State a 68-60 lead and control of the game.
There's something about N.C. State that brings out the best in Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets only won four ACC games last season but one was in Raleigh.
And the Jackets scored only 49 points in their first ACC game last Saturday at Miami but had 38 in the first half on Wednesday.
Georgia Tech's bigs were aggressive and took the fight to N.C. State inside. Freshman forward Robert Carter Jr. had nine points in the first half and junior forward Daniel Miller scored eight points and added seven rebounds to get the Jackets off to a strong start.
N.C. State trailed for much of the first 16 minutes of the game before taking a 30-26 lead on a pair of free throws by freshman guard Tyler Lewis with 3:37 left.
State led 36-33 after a dunk from Leslie with 1:56 left in the half. Then an apparent basket by T.J. Warren was waived off by a charging call, which opened the door for the Jackets to claw back before the end of the half.
Miller's putback and a 3-pointer by Bolden in the final 47 seconds gave the Jackets a 38-37 lead.