For the first time since the 1998-99 season, the NC State men’s basketball team payed a regular-season games outside the continental United States. It worked out well as the Wolfpack beat the Big Ten’s Penn State Nitany Lions by 17 points in a game that was only close for the first 8 minutes.
The Las Vegas line had NC State as a 12 point favorite right before tip. With that said, the Wolfpack bested expectations for the second consecutive game and is now 2-0 against the spread this season. The Pack is now 15-4 all-time vs Penn State.
The Wolfpack will play either UMass or Providence on Friday at 5pm EST. I am hoping for UMASS because it is time that NC State starts evening-up the series after Les Robinson (0-1) and Herb Sendek (0-2) combined for an embarrassing 0-3 record against the Minutemen. There is NO WAY that the NC State program should be winless against a UMass program.
BAYAMON, Puerto Rico — Richard Howell got in early foul trouble in the first half of N.C. State’s first game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Thursday.
That spelled trouble for the Wolfpack last season. But it’s a new season for N.C. State and freshman T.J. Warren picked up the slack and led the sixth-ranked Wolfpack to a 72-55 win over Penn State.
Warren scored 22 points, on 9-of-12 shooting, to give N.C. State lift when its veteran were either struggling or in foul trouble.
Howell picked up two fouls in the first 3 minutes of the game. Lorenzo Brown scored two points in the first half and Scott Wood didn’t score until 8 and half minutes in the second half.
But with Warren burying 3s (three) and Rodney Purvis chipping in 12 points, N.C. State advanced in the winners’ bracket. The Pack will play either Providence or Massachusetts today at 5 p.m.
Junior forward C.J. Leslie picked up the scoring load to start the second half with two quick baskets and an assist. Leslie finished with 14 points.
N.C. State led by nine at the half, 35-26, but stretched its advantage out to as many as 24 in the second half.
Wood scored eight points, in a 10-point flurry, to give the Pack its biggest lead of the game, 60-36 at 9:58 in the second half.
The following is from real-time discussion on the blog
I am FIRED UP!!! It is so much fun to be so excited about basketball again.
NC State is 143-49 in 83 in-season tournament appearances through the years.
Dan Dakich is doing color for ESPN from Puerto Rico. I always remember that he did our DEBACLE at Wisconsin a couple of years ago. He pulled no punches on Sidney Lowe and our program that night. Nor should’ve he.
You can follow some of our real-time comments on our Twitter feed – @Statefansnation
Some general first half comments:
* Looks like Mark Gottfried has already started to find some substitution patterns that are working well for the Pack. Also keeping our guys out of foul trouble.
* CJ Leslie hasn’t played as smart as I would like to see. Maybe he started finding some rhythm in the last part of the first half. But, we need to limit the ‘bad possessions’.
* Richard Howell didn’t look emotionally or physically engaged/committed early on. And, he didn’t get off the bench after his first sub around the 17 minute mark.
* Thomas de Thaey came into the game prior to 12 minute mark. I liked it. He played good defense. He did shoot an airball from the three-point line; but, the stroke looked good and I’ve got no problem with him taking more of them based on how good
* Rodney Purvis and TJ Warren providing us real offense. Almost ‘fee points’ based on their ability to score. Huge for us. The two had 24 of our first 33 points.
* If Purvis can shoot from the three-point line with this kind of efficiency throughout the season the Wolfpack is going to VERY, VERY good.
* I’d like to see just a tad better free throw shooting from the Pack. It feels like we are a 65%-70% FT shooting team. We will almost impossible to beat if we can be a 75%+ shooting team.