Scoreless drought dooms Wolfpack

Derrick Williams scored 22 points to help Arizona beat North

Carolina State 72-62 on Sunday.

Kevin Parrom added 11 points for the Wildcats (10-2), who used a

10-0 run midway through the second half to take control and beat

the Wolfpack (6-4) for the second straight season. Arizona led by

four at halftime and maintained that margin the entire second half,

turning away several surges before holding N.C. State scoreless for

5 1/2 minutes during the decisive run.

Scott Wood had 16 points to lead the Wolfpack, who fell short in

their last chance to grab a nonconference victory against a

power-conference team. N.C. State was blown out at Wisconsin and

played tough in a loss at Syracuse earlier this month, but this

game seemed the perfect opportunity for a program still trying to

get to the NCAA tournament for the first time under fifth-year

coach Sidney Lowe.

It certainly didn’t help that all-Atlantic Coast Conference

performer Tracy Smith missed his eighth straight game following

knee surgery. Lowe had hoped Smith would be ready to return against

Arizona, but he sat on the bench wearing a red team warmup

suit.

The Wolfpack’s problems went deeper than that. The Wildcats were

quicker and more athletic, and as the game wore on, they repeatedly

beat the stagnant Wolfpack to loose balls. In fact, N.C. State

pulled to within a single basket five times in the second half only

to see Arizona answer with a score on the ensuing possession four

times.

N.C. State closed to 52-50 on a 3-pointer from Wood with about

10 minutes left, but that’s when the Wildcats took off. Kyryl

Natyazhko answered with a jumper, then Williams went airborne to

throw down an alley-oop slam in transition to push the lead back up

to six. Lamont Jones followed that with a layup off a turnover and

Williams hit a pair of free throws to make it 60-50.

That’s when reserve Jesse Perry (10 points, six rebounds) capped

the run with a play that seemed to sum up Arizona’s edge in energy

and athleticism. Jordin Mayes missed a 3, but Perry jumped in front

of Wood – who appeared to be waiting for the ball to fall to him –

and ripped the ball away before sticking it back in to make it

62-50 with about 7 minutes left.

That was just too big of a hole for N.C. State, which didn’t

score again until Richard Howell’s two free throws with 4:36 to

play and never seriously threatened to mount a comeback.

N.C. State shot just 32 percent, with freshman C.J. Leslie

managing two points on 1-for-14 shooting.