RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Dennis Smith Jr. scored a career-high 30 points to help North Carolina State beat Loyola-Chicago 79-77 on Saturday.
Torin Dorn added 20 points for the Wolfpack (5-1), who shot 51 percent from the floor.
Abdul-Malik Abu broke a 71-71 tie with a tip-in with 3:29 remaining to give N.C. State the lead for good.
Terry Henderson scored 19 points for the Wolfpack, who missed the front end of two one-and-ones in the final 7 seconds.
Markell Johnson stole the ball from Loyola’s Milton Doyle after the first, and Cameron Satterwhite’s heave from just beyond halfcourt missed after the second.
Aundre Jackson scored 20 points to lead Loyola (5-2), which led by as many as 11 points in the first half.
Ben Richardson had 16 points for the Ramblers, who made 10 of 17 3-point attempts.
Doyle had 12 points and Clayton Custer had 11 for Loyola.
Loyola: With their lack of size inside, the Ramblers are going to have trouble defending around the basket just as they did against the Wolfpack. But their spread offense is legit, and they gave N.C. State fits with it. Loyola had clear driving lanes to the basket and open 3-point attempts from all over the court throughout the game.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack struggled defensively and got almost no production from their interior players against an undersized opponent. They continue to excel in the open court offensively, but they must do a better job on defense as conference play approaches.
Loyola hosts Norfolk State on Wednesday night in the first game of a four-game homestand.
N.C. State plays at Illinois on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.