Monroe, N.C. State wreck Tech in a most illogical ACC way


ATLANTA -- There is computer logic and pretzel logic.

Welcome to Atlantic Coast Conference logic:

Ten days ago, North Carolina State was riding atop the ACC standings before venturing to College Park to meet a Maryland team without its best player in a game that had all the appearances of a road "gimme."

Instead, the Wolfpack, which had dropped six straight road games, lost 104-100 to the Terrapins, who haven't won in the league since.

And so, N.C. State (11-6, 4-3 in the ACC) came to Alexander Memorial Coliseum yesterday to serve as fodder for a Georgia Tech club that had only lost once on its home floor all season and had beaten Maryland handily here Friday.

A Tech romp was in order, right?

Final score: N.C. State 79, Georgia Tech 73.

Go figure.

"I've said it before: We're capable of beating anyone, but we're also capable of getting beat by anyone, too," said N.C. State senior guard Chris Corchiani.

It becomes obvious that approximately halfway through this ACC season, Corchiani's observation applies to every team in the conference, with the exception of league-leading Duke.

But the Wolfpack's chances look as good as anyone's, for no one else has anything to approximate the senior backcourt of Corchiani and Hagerstown's Rodney Monroe.

Monroe, the ACC's leading scorer, notched 31 points yesterday to move to within 108 points of the 2,308 needed to pass David Thompson as the school's all-time leading scorer.

Corchiani, who leads the conference in assists, handed out 10 to put him at exactly 900, making him one of only three players in NCAA history (joining Sherman Douglas of Syracuse and Gary Payton of Oregon State) to accumulate that many in a career.

N.C. State coach Les Robinson is only into his fourth month of appreciating the wonders of his backcourt on a daily basis. But he is thankful for his guards' magic, which yesterday included holding Georgia Tech's Kenny Anderson to 23 points, five below his season average.

"Of course, Chris ran the show," Robinson said. "He's a gutty player and came up with the big plays. Rodney Monroe was very cool under pressure."

Monroe, who had 48 points in State's comeback 90-83 win over Georgia Tech in Raleigh three weeks ago, hit 12 of his 22 shots and was two of three from three-point range.

He scored State's last eight points to hold off the 23rd-ranked Yellow Jackets' furious rally that closed a 15-point deficit to three with three minutes left.

"They're at home and we thought they'd make a run," said Monroe, the 1987 Evening Sun Player of the Year from St. Maria Goretti High. "We were just trying to handle the pressure. We just weathered the storm."

"We knew they would make a run at us," said Corchiani, who forced one of his three steals at the 5:30 mark and fed it to Tom Gugliotta.

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