Will Conroy and Tre Simmons each scored 12 points in No. 18 Washington's victory.

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Will Conroy and Tre Simmons each scored 12 points and Brandon Roy returned earlier than expected from knee surgery to add 10 points, leading No. 18 Washington to a 68-64 victory over No. 12 North Carolina State tonight.

The Huskies (8-1), off to their best start in seven years, outlasted the Wolfpack (8-1) in an exciting finish.

It wasn’t the track meet everyone expected, with Washington averaging 89.5 points per game and N.C. State at 83.8, nor was it a duel between each team’s star — Julius Hodge for N.C. State and Nate Robinson for Washington.

Hodge scored 15 points and Robinson was held to seven with seven rebounds and five assists. Cameron Bennerman had 16 points for the Wolfpack, while freshman Andrew Brackman added 14.

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Simmons scored five points in the final 23 seconds. His three-point play on a breakaway layup put Washington ahead 66-61 with 22 seconds to go. He hit two free throws to seal it with 0.2 seconds on the clock.

The Huskies avenged a 77-72 loss last season in Raleigh, N.C., but they had to earn this one. The Wolfpack cut it to 66-64 on Engin Atsur’s 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining.

Robinson was fouled in the backcourt with 10 seconds on the clock but missed the front end of a-and-1, giving the Wolfpack a chance to tie or win it. Hodge drove on the last play and was met by Simmons, Roy and Robinson.

They slapped his shot away and Simmons came away with the ball, drew a foul and made the free throws.

It was one of the school’s biggest nonconference games ever, and the arena was packed to the rafters long before tipoff. Students welcomed the Wolfpack players, needling them at full volume during pregame stretches.

Roy got a huge cheer when he checked in late in the first half. He wasn’t expected back on the floor for another week at best after tearing a knee ligament in the Great Alaska Shootout semifinals.

Roy had a huge basket late in the game when he caught a rebound in midair off a missed 10-footer by Simmons and slammed it home. It got the crowd energized and gave the Huskies a 63-58 lead with 2:35 remaining.

Brackman scored after a rebound and Hodge made one of two free throws to make it 63-62 with 1:15 to go.

It was the first big test for N.C. State, which coasted at home against teams likes Elon, Campbell and Liberty. It was also the Wolfpack’s first road game, kicking off a stretch of five of six away from home.

Seattle SuperSonics coach Nate McMillan, an N.C. State alum, sat behind the Wolfpack bench, and Washington fans were on their feet cheering at halftime when new football coach Tyrone Willingham was introduced.