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NC State rallies to beat Maryland 65-56

(AP Photo/The News & Observer, Ethan Hyman)

By AARON BEARD

AP Basketball Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Ralston Turner matched his career-high with 23 points, helping North Carolina State rally to beat Maryland 65-56 on Monday despite playing without Atlantic Coast Conference leading scorer T.J. Warren.

Desmond Lee added 14 points for the Wolfpack (12-7, 2-4 ACC), who rallied from 11 down early in the second half to snap a three-game losing streak. N.C. State shot 57 percent after halftime, with Turner scoring 19 points and knocking down all five of his 3-pointers in the second half.

Turner was making his first start in two months with Warren sidelined due to a sprained left ankle suffered late in Saturday's 35-point loss at Duke. Warren was averaging 22 points per game, but Turner and his Wolfpack teammates responded to the challenge against the Terrapins (11-8, 3-3).

Dez Wells and Evan Smotrycz each scored 10 for Maryland, which shot 31 percent for the game.

It was clear how much this win meant for the Wolfpack, who had suffered two 30-point losses in a span of eight days. Coach Mark Gottfried - who was celebrating his 50th birthday - went down the Wolfpack bench giving his players celebratory high-fives and thumping their chests as the horn sounded on this one.

N.C. State had a big win at Notre Dame to build some confidence after a home loss to Pittsburgh in its league opener. But things had gone downhill since, starting with a 31-point home loss to Virginia followed by a 70-69 loss on a last-second basket at Wake Forest four days later.

Then came Saturday's 35-point loss to the Blue Devils, the Wolfpack's worst loss in the series in a dozen years. That sent the Wolfpack into a three-game ACC homestand against Maryland, Georgia Tech and Florida State needing something positive to happen.

Turner, an LSU transfer, made it happen with his best scoring effort in an N.C. State uniform.

Maryland had lost two straight games by at least 20 points before last week's home win against Notre Dame, then looked on its way to a second straight win when it took its biggest lead at 31-20 on Shaquille Cleare's hook shot over Jordan Vandenberg 30 seconds into the second half.

But the Wolfpack answered with an 8-0 flurry, ending when Desmond Lee found a trailing Kyle Washington for big transition dunk that erased the Terps' working margin.

Turner took over later on, hitting consecutive 3-pointers that put the Wolfpack ahead to stay at 48-46 with 8:50 left.

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Updated January 20, 2014

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