NC State 60, Princeton 58
North Carolina State had made everything look easy in its first
two games under coach Mark Gottfried. This time, his players proved
they could win a tough one, too.
DeShawn Painter knocked down a straightaway jumper with 4.2
seconds left to help the Wolfpack beat Princeton 60-58 on Wednesday
night, keeping Gottfried unbeaten here while giving N.C. State a
needed early-season test.
Lorenzo Brown turned in an impressive performance for the
Wolfpack (3-0), finishing with 16 points, eight assists, five
rebounds and five steals despite missing the past two days of
practice with a stomach bug. He also fed Painter near the top of
the circle for the winning basket, though the Wolfpack had to sweat
this one out until Ian Hummer’s desperation heave from near
halfcourt fell short as time expired.
N.C. State trailed by nine in the first half and 35-32 at the
break, but rallied despite playing almost the entire game without
junior outside shooter Scott Wood, who was lost to an ankle injury
barely 2 minutes in.
”We’re in the infant stages with our team and hopefully
building something great,” Gottfried said. ”Sometimes you’re
going to have games like this where you have to dig down and
overcome some obstacles.”
N.C. State also played for the third straight time without
sophomore forward C.J. Leslie and freshman forward Thomas de Thaey,
with Leslie serving the last of a three-game suspension for
receiving improper benefits while de Thaey is out indefinitely
while the school reviews the Belgium native’s eligibility from
Painter and Richard Howell had made up for their absences in the
first two games, but Howell (10 points) had foul trouble and
Painter (11) had a quiet night until hitting the winning shot.
”It was just a gutsy shot,” Painter said. ”Sometimes you are
either going to win it, you’re going to be a hero and take it, or
if you miss your shot people are going to say you’re a loser or mad
at you. But I pride myself on guts and I have to thank God for
giving me the opportunity to get that shot.”
Alex Johnson, a graduate transfer who had struggled with his
shot so far this season, appeared to have the Wolfpack poised to
win when he hit a 3-pointer from the right corner for a 58-55 lead
with 1:55 left. But Douglas Davis lost Brown on the right side and
launched a 3 that swished through the net and tied the game with
20.6 seconds left.
Davis scored 21 points for the Tigers (0-2) and hit five
3-pointers. He had 13 points in the first half as Princeton shot 52
percent and hit 6 of 7 3-point tries before halftime.
But the Tigers cooled in the second half, both from the Wolfpack
playing with more defensive intensity and from the Tigers missing
some of the open looks they had knocked down early. Princeton
missed 20 of 28 shots in the second half while the Wolfpack shot 52
percent after halftime.
N.C. State also took a 40-24 rebounding advantage, which led to
a 15-5 edge in second-chance points.
”None of us were happy with the results,” Princeton coach
Mitch Henderson said. ”And the things that we talked about coming
in – defense, rebounding – we got hurt on at key points of the
The Wolfpack opened the season with relatively easy wins against
UNC Asheville and Morehead State, but couldn’t get out in
transition nearly as effectively this time and ended up in a
grind-it-out fight to the buzzer.
Losing Wood didn’t help, either. He rolled his right ankle as he
came down on a shot while being fouled, hitting the floor and
immediately grabbing his ankle. He was helped off the court and put
no weight on the leg on the way to the locker room at the 18:04
mark. He emerged just before the start of the second half, walking
with crutches and wearing a protective boot on his right foot.
X-rays revealed no fracture, but Gottfried said Wood would be
out ”for a while.”
The game also included Gottfried being whistled for his first
technical foul with the Wolfpack with 6:13 left in the second
The game is part of the Legends Classic. N.C. State travels to
East Rutherford, N.J., to face No. 18 Vanderbilt in the semifinals