No. 25 NC State 84, Norfolk St. 62

No. 25 North Carolina State’s unselfishness led to some big
numbers for quite a few players.

The Wolfpack’s point guard nearly had a perfect night from the
field, the freshman pure scorer had yet another 20-point game and
the big man had his best night on the boards.

N.C. State routed Norfolk State 84-62 on Saturday night behind
21 points from freshman T.J. Warren.

Lorenzo Brown scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting and Richard
Howell added 12 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for the
Wolfpack (7-2).

”Our guys are really beginning to share the ball more, find
guys and try to find someone who’s a little more open than they
are,” coach Mark Gottfried said.

The Wolfpack shot 57 percent and broke the game open with a
transition-fueled run that bridged the halves, forcing 16 turnovers
and turning them into 21 points while winning their third straight
and improving to 29-0 against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
teams.

”It was tough at the beginning (of the season) because we
didn’t know what to do with all these scorers on our team,” Brown
said. ”I think we’re getting a little bit better with passing the
ball, passing to the right guy at the right time.”

Malcolm Hawkins had 16 points for the Spartans (6-7), who lost
their second straight – both against Top 25 opponents. They hung
around in this one for the first 15 minutes, but managed just one
basket in about 10 1/2 minutes while the game got away from
them.

Norfolk State simply didn’t have anybody who could keep up with
Brown, who had 12 points in the first half and was nearly perfect
from the field: he made his first seven attempts before an
ill-advised jumper with about 3 1/2 minutes to play was blocked by
Rashid Gaston.

”He controls the tempo completely,” Norfolk State coach
Anthony Evans said. ”We couldn’t rattle him.”

Brown added seven assists and helped the Wolfpack pull away. He
scored six points with two fast-break dunks during the 20-4 run
that started in the first half, ended in the second and pushed N.C.
State’s lead well into double figures to stay.

”Our defense keyed everything” during that stretch, Gottfried
said. ”We deflected some passes, we got our hands on some loose
balls, we turned those into fast breaks. … (The Wolfpack) showed
signs of a team that can guard somebody here and there.”

Brown’s fast-break dunk capped the burst and made it 43-26 with
just under 18 minutes left. And after Warren’s layup gave the
Wolfpack their largest lead at 54-32 with 13 1/2 minutes to play,
Norfolk State didn’t get closer than 13 the rest of the way.

Gaston finished with 11 points for Spartans, whose top scorer
couldn’t get anything going because he spent much of the night in
foul trouble. Pendarvis Williams, who averages a team-best 12
points, finished with four on 2-of-10 shooting while playing only
16 minutes.

C.J. Leslie had 11 points, freshman Rodney Purvis added 10 and
Warren reached the 20-point mark for the third time in his
nine-game career with the Wolfpack, whose first game at PNC Arena
since Nov. 23 paired two teams that had memorable runs nine months
ago in the NCAA tournament.

N.C. State upset its way to the round of 16, a spurt that helped
make the Wolfpack the preseason favorites in the ACC. The Spartans
return one starter (Williams) from the group that as a No. 15 seed
knocked off second-seeded Missouri.

Playing for the first time since final exams wrapped up, N.C.
State received a brief but effective test from a pesky Norfolk
State team playing four nights after losing by 10 at No. 10
Illinois. The Spartans clawed back from an early 10-point deficit
and closed to 23-22 on Kris Brown’s layup with just under 7 minutes
left in the first half before going cold.