Turner scores 18, NC State beats Virginia Tech 69-53
RALIEGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina State took another step forward in its push toward the postseason.
Ralston Turner scored 18 points to help the Wolfpack beat Virginia Tech 69-53 on Saturday night.
Trevor Lacey added 14 points and six assists for N.C. State (16-11, 7-7 Atlantic Coast Conference), which shot 52 percent from the field.
The Wolfpack won consecutive conference games for the first time since early January in pursuit of a fourth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
”It’s too early to tell, but recently things have gone our way,” Turner said. ”We’ve still got four more games to go, and we’re going to have to continue to bring the same type of energy.”
Anthony Barber scored 10, all in the first half, for N.C. State, which broke open the game with an 11-2 run midway through the second half. Turner, Lacey and Caleb Martin each hit a 3-pointer during the spurt, which gave the Wolfpack a 54-41 lead with just under 10 minutes to play.
N.C. State hit 10 of 26 from 3-point range, tying its season high for 3-pointers made in a conference game.
”We were doing all we could to protect the paint and make them shoot 3s, and they made some contested 3s,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. ”That’s what good players do.”
Justin Bibbs scored 19 points to lead Virginia Tech (10-17, 2-12).
Adam Smith added 15 points for the Hokies, who made four of their first 15 field-goal attempts before hitting their next 11 shots in a row and pulling within 39-36 early in the second half after a 3-pointer by Ahmed Hill.
N.C. State built on the momentum it generated it its 74-65 victory at Louisville last weekend.
The Wolfpack seized control early on the way to a 32-25 halftime lead, holding Virginia Tech without a field goal for almost seven minutes to open the game.
N.C. State took a 25-10 lead on a jumper by Turner with 5:30 remaining in the first half before the Hokies clawed back with hot shooting.
Virginia Tech made its final six shots of the first half, including a deep 3-pointer by Smith that swished through the net as time expired.
”We played well for the most part,” Lacey said. ”We got a little sloppy defensively a couple of times, but I think we like how we played.”
Virginia Tech: Bibbs sparked his team’s surge late in the first half. Scoreless for the first 15-plus minutes of the game, he scored on four consecutive possessions. He hit a baseline jumper, a tough runner and a pair of 3-pointers in a span of 2:40 as the Hokies chipped away at N.C. State’s lead.
N.C. State: After having a week off to rest his ailing left knee, Turner snapped out of a shooting slump. He made 4 of 8 3-point tries after making just 6 of 26 3-point attempts in the previous four games. . Forward Kyle Washington, who has started 18 games this season, did not play due to coach’s decision. He logged just seven minutes in the win at Louisville.
The Hokies fell to 0-10 in road games this season after capping their second stretch of three consecutive ACC road games. Virginia Tech has dropped 18 consecutive road games overall dating to a win at Miami in December 2013.
”The only choice when you’re in the bottom of the ditch is to figure out how to get up,” Williams said. ”The only way I know to do that is work.”
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
”He’s a tough guy. Kryptonite is all that probably could hurt him.” – N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried on Barber, who left the game briefly in the first half after banging his left knee
Virginia Tech hosts No. 4 Duke on Wednesday.
N.C. State visits No. 15 North Carolina on Tuesday.