NC State beats Hofstra 76-64 to go to 2-0
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Ralston Turner kept finding gaps in the defense and stepping confidently into his shot.
Unlike the season opener, Turner’s shots were falling this time.
The fifth-year senior made five 3-pointers and scored a career-high 24 points to help North Carolina State beat Hofstra 76-64 on Monday night.
Turner had just seven points in Friday’s blowout win over Jackson State, including a 1-for-4 effort from 3-point range. But he surpassed that by halftime for the Wolfpack (2-0), who got another strong performance from a backcourt that will have to carry the load with the departure of Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year T.J. Warren to the NBA.
”I think I was more settled down,” Turner said. ”The first game, I think I took good shots. They just didn’t fall. Today I just tried to relax. I still shot the same shots.”
Turner’s biggest shots were two straight 3s midway through the second half that kept the Wolfpack in control after Hofstra (1-1) had cut a 19-point lead to eight.
”He stepped up and made big shots,” coach Mark Gottfried said. ”You could kind of see it in his eyes: `It’s coming to me, I’m going to shoot it and make it and just kind of end this thing for us and make sure this lead doesn’t get down too low.”’
Trevor Lacey had 16 points and 10 rebounds for N.C. State, and point guard Anthony ”Cat” Barber had 15 points.
The Wolfpack didn’t shoot particularly well (37 percent) but got to the foul line repeatedly. N.C. State hit 20 of 31 free throws, making almost as many as Hofstra even attempted (21).
Juan’ya Green scored 19 points for Hofstra (1-1), which fell behind by 16 at the break and spent most of the night in catch-up mode. The Pride shot just 31 percent.
”We lost the game in the first half,” Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich said. ”They kind of jumped us to their credit and took us out of our offense. We were just totally unsettled offensively in that first half and it affected the game.”
N.C. State built a double-digit lead just 5 minutes in and stayed active throughout the half to keep the pressure on. Turner found wide-open gaps against Hofstra’s zone and knocked down three 3-pointers in the opening half, helping the Wolfpack to a 45-29 lead at the break.
Hofstra inched back into the game and closed to 57-49 on Dion Nesmith’s 3-pointer with 10:48 left. But Des Lee answered with a layup, and then Turner had his flurry to push the lead back to 16 minutes later.
Hofstra: Brian Bernardi scored 22 points in Hofstra’s opening victory against Jacksonville, but finished with just three points on 1-for-5 shooting in the second game. … Nesmith and Ameen Tanksley each had 13 points.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack scored the game’s first seven points and never trailed. … Lennard Freeman finished with 13 rebounds. … BeeJay Anya had three blocks, including one on Green’s drive after Hofstra had pulled within nine midway through the second half.
N.C. State knew it would have to find some reliable scoring production inside to find some balance with the perimeter this season. Freeman finished with nine points, but the three other big men combined to shoot just 3 for 11.
Green and Lacey both finished with good overall stat lines but shot the ball poorly. Green had eight rebounds and four assists, but shot just 6 for 18. Lacey shot 5 for 17 after going 8 for 10 in the opener.
Hofstra returns home to face Stony Brook on Friday.
N.C. State hosts Jacksonville on Thursday.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap