RALEIGH — N.C. State wants to win with its offense running through Tracy Smith. The Wolfpack also has to learn to how win without its big man.
With Smith in foul trouble, N.C. State struggled to survive against a Georgia State team filled with ACC castoffs on Thursday night. Ultimately, Smith got on the court long enough to offset a miserable shooting effort and lead the Wolfpack to a 69-53 win over the Panthers in the season-opener.
Smith’s game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds, in only 25 minutes, were enough for N.C. State’s 16th straight season-opening win. A late 18-5 run, capped by a Scott Wood layup at 3:42, brought the previously lifeless crowd of 9,502 at the RBC Center to its feet and allowed them to exhale.