Howell finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Wolfpack (15-3, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who never trailed yet still found itself in a tight game against a league opponent that wouldn’t go away. N.C. State scored the game’s first 10 points and led by nine early in the second half.
Ultimately, the Wolfpack held on, with Howell’s three-point play breaking a tie and Scott Wood’s 5-for-6 performance at the line in the final 28 seconds helping N.C. State keep its grip on the lead.
Devin Booker scored a career-high 27 points for the Tigers (10-7, 2-3), though he didn’t score in the final 8½ minutes or even get a shot in the final 6½ minutes.
NO. 2 INDIANA 67, NORTHWESTERN 59
In Evanston, Ill., Cody Zeller scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and No. 2 Indiana beat Northwestern.
Jordan Hulls added 15 points. Christian Watford scored 14, and the Hoosiers (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten) hung on after things got tense down the stretch.
They led by as much as 17 in the first half and were up 31-17 at intermission, but Northwestern (11-8, 2-4) rattled them with its trap in the second.
The Wildcats pulled within five three times, but the Hoosiers prevailed after seeing a six-game win streak end with a loss to Wisconsin last week.
Reggie Hearn scored 22 for Northwestern, who beat No. 23 Illinois on Thursday.