Smith scores 24 as NC State beats Saint Joseph's
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) Dennis Smith Jr. scored a career-high 24 points and N.C. State held off Saint Joseph's for a 73-63 victory Monday in the third-place game of the Paradise Jam tournament.
Torin Dorn added 19 points, Terry Henderson 15 and Abdul-Malik Abu had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack (4-1), who overcame an 11-point deficit in the first half to lead by as many as 14 points.
''I think we just started really slow,'' N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. ''I don't know if it was because of last night's game (a 112-94 loss to Creighton in the semifinals Sunday). We didn't have a lot of zip early. But around the 12-minute mark of the first half, we really started to play. We got going, started to execute and our defense was better. Our guys really responded.''
Shavar Newkirk scored 23 points and Charlie Brown added 14 for the Hawks (3-2), who shot just 32.9 percent from the field (24 of 73) including 5 of 22 from 3-point range.
Still, Saint Joseph's managed to make N.C. State sweat in the closing minutes. Down 57-43 with less than 11 minutes remaining, the Hawks pulled to within six points three times, the last at 69-63 with 2:29 remaining.
But Smith connected of a pair of free throws less than a minute later, followed by a Henderson dunk that pushed N.C. State's lead back to double digits.
''We had some terrific numbers – 22 offensive rebounds, 73 shots, eight turnovers, 10 for 12 from the foul line,'' Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. ''Just terrific numbers. We just didn't have enough guys making shots.''
Saint Joseph's: Sophomore guard Lamarr Kimble struggled in Monday's game, missing his first 10 shots. He finished with three points on 1-of-15 shooting, including 1-of-7 3-pointers.
N.C. State: Smith showed why he was voted the ACC's preseason rookie of the year and put on the league's preseason first team. While not particularly effective shooting (6 of 15 from the field, 3 of 6 on 3-pointers), he made 9 of 10 from the free throw line and added eight assists.
Saint Joseph's: Takes a few days off, then hosts Temple on Nov. 30.
N.C. State: Hosts fellow Paradise Jam participant Loyola-Chicago on Saturday.