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  Tuesday, Mar. 28 7:00pm ET
Deacons work OT to reach final

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wake Forest won bragging rights in its rivalry with North Carolina State and earned a spot in the final of the National Invitation Tournament.

Darius Songaila scored 18 points, including six in overtime, as Wake Forest beat Atlantic Coast Conference rival N.C. State 62-59 in the semifinals of the NIT on Tuesday night.

Justin Gainey, Robert O'Kelley
The Wolfpack's Justin Gainey shoots over Wake's Robert O'Kelley. Gainey scored 10 points.
"This was an old-fashioned ACC, Tobacco Road type of game," Demon Deacons coach Dave Odom said. "That's what happens when two evenly matched teams play."

Wake Forest (21-14) will play Notre Dame (22-14) in Thursday night's final. The Fighting Irish beat Penn State 73-52 in Tuesday's other semifinal.

"I think the game was what everyone expected," Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said. "It was a hard-fought, very physical game. Guys on both teams played with a lot of determination."

Songaila made a layup off a pass from Robert O'Kelley with 58 seconds left to give Wake Forest a 58-56 lead in overtime. Songaila was fouled by Kenny Inge on the Demon Deacons' next possession with 35.9 left and made both foul shots for a 60-56 lead.

N.C. State's Tim Wells responded with a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left to bring the Wolfpack within 60-59.

Songaila was fouled by Anthony Grundy with 13.7 seconds and made both free throws to seal it.

"It feels great to be in that situation where you're making key shots at the end of the game," Songaila said. "The most important thing for me was the confidence my teammates showed in giving me the ball when it counted."

Josh Howard had 14 points and Rafael Vidaurreta added 10 points and eight rebounds for Wake Forest, making its first NIT final appearance.

"We had guys that really stepped up for us," O'Kelley said. "This win is a great confidence booster for us, and we're looking forward to winning the championship."

Inge, Damon Thornton and Justin Gainey each had 10 points for N.C. State (20-13), which shot just 29.5 percent from the field on 18-of-61 shooting.

The Demon Deacons outrebounded the Wolfpack 46-31, but also made 23 turnovers to 11 for the Wolfpack.

"I'm amazed that we won rebounding, but when I look at our turnovers -- that's just not us," Odom said.

Thornton was called for his fifth foul with 19.9 seconds left in regulation, sending Songaila to the line. Songaila missed the first shot, but made the second to give Wake Forest a 51-50 lead.

Gainey drew a foul from Shoemaker on a layup attempt with 8.4 seconds remaining. Gainey made his first free throw but, after Wake called a timeout, missed the second to send it to overtime.

Wake Forest took a 29-22 lead at the break after an energetic, but sloppy first half. The Demon Deacons had 12 turnovers, while the Wolfpack had just two. But N.C. State could not get going on offense in the half, shooting just 20 percent (6-for-30) from the field.

N.C. State took its first lead 3:42 into the second half when Gainey's layup gave the Wolfpack a 31-29 lead, capping a 13-0 run that started in the first half. Gainey scored seven of N.C. State's points in the run.

"When we had a 29-18 lead, I challenged my team to build on it," Odom said. "I'll never do that again."

The Atlantic Coast Conference rivals played for the 207th time, including splitting two games this season, but it was the teams' first meeting in a non-conference postseason tournament.

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 Robert O'Kelley feeds Darius Songaila for a basket.
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 Tim Wells drains the 3-pointer.
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 Josh Howard slashes through the defense and draws the foul.
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