NC State 84, UNC Asheville 75
C.J. Williams had 18 points to help North Carolina State beat
UNC Asheville 84-75 on Friday night in Mark Gottfried’s debut as
Richard Howell added 14 points and 15 rebounds for N.C. State,
which had relatively little trouble against a veteran team coming
off an NCAA tournament appearance. The Wolfpack dominated the
boards and repeatedly got out in transition, taking a double-digit
lead barely 4 minutes into the game and maintaining a comfortable
lead the rest of the night.
N.C. State never let the Bulldogs (0-1) closer than six points
after that early flurry, running the lead out to as many as 19
points late in the first half and never letting the lead slip below
seven after halftime.
Matt Dickey scored 17 to lead the Bulldogs, who follow this game
with another Atlantic Coast Conference opponent – top-ranked North
Carolina – at home Sunday.
N.C. State was shorthanded for this one after the school
announced shortly before tipoff that sophomore forward C.J. Leslie
would miss three games after he and a relative received $410 in
improper benefits. But Howell more than made up for his absence
inside, showing off plenty of energy and improved mobility after
losing about 20 pounds in the offseason.
Howell had 10 points to go with eight boards by halftime, while
Lorenzo Brown was active at the point. He finished with 13 points
and nine assists, though he made his biggest impact early by
repeatedly getting hands in passing lanes and swiping eight steals
in the first half.
It was a performance that could give Gottfried both reason for
optimism and a list of things to work on at the next practice. N.C.
State’s players seemed comfortable pushing the ball in transition
early to play the faster pace Gottfried wants, though they looked
stagnant in the second half and unable to increase their big
Gottfried inherited a program that never lived up to potential
in five years under Sidney Lowe, who couldn’t get the Wolfpack into
the NCAA tournament or out of the bottom third of the ACC.
Gottfried certainly looked recharged after spending the past two
years as a TV analyst, spending much of the game on his feet and
actively pacing the sideline while yelling instructions to his
He threw in a couple of animated responses to officiating, too.
After a borderline foul on Scott Wood in the second half, Gottfried
ripped off his black suitcoat in disgust and threw it angrily to
his chair. Seconds later, Gottfried sat down in the chair and – for
good measure – grabbed the coat and spiked it down again between
his feet on the sideline. He coached the rest of the game in his
white dress shirt and red tie.
N.C. State finished with a 50-36 rebounding advantage and shot
44 percent. UNC Asheville shot 35 percent, though it missed 11 of
12 to open the game and fall behind early.