NC State beats Tennessee 83-72
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Ralston Turner knew he'd get plenty of open perimeter looks against Tennessee's zone defense.
The North Carolina State senior knocked them down all night, too.
Turner had career highs of 33 points and eight 3-pointers, helping the Wolfpack beat the Volunteers 83-72 on Wednesday night.
Tennessee's trapping defense yielded plenty of gaps on the perimeter that Turner repeatedly converted into big baskets - several with no defender really close to him.
''With the way they play, they try to wreak havoc, force turnovers,'' Turner said. ''When you play that style of play, it's kind of like they're banking on you to miss some shots, but they also want you to shoot it quick. ... It was just a matter of being confident and making the play.''
Turner finished 9-for-18 from the field and 8-for-17 from 3-point range, surpassing his previous high of 24 points set against Hofstra in the second game of the season. The LSU transfer had averaged 4.5 points in two games against the Volunteers while with the Tigers in the Southeastern Conference.
''I actually told (Turner) before the game he was going to get 30 - I'm serious - because the way they press us he was going to get wide open 3s all night,'' teammate Trevor Lacey said. ''It was just on him to step up and make them, and he did.''
Lacey had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Wolfpack (9-2), who shot 51 percent and led by 17 points before holding off a second-half comeback to beat the Volunteers (4-4) for the second straight season.
Point guard Anthony ''Cat'' Barber added seven points, eight assists and one turnover.
''Those three guards are probably one of the 10 best backcourts in college basketball, so any one of those three are capable of going off,'' first-year Vols coach Donnie Tyndall said. ''Tonight obviously Turner got it going in a big way.''
Turner finished one 3-pointer shy of the program record a day before he graduates with a degree in sports management.
''I think we've just got to do a better job of getting to the shooter,'' said Josh Richardson, who scored 17 to lead Tennessee. ''We knew he was a good shooter going in.''
Tennessee: This was the third time the Volunteers have played at PNC Arena this year. Tennessee beat Massachusetts and Mercer in the NCAA tournament here in March to reach the round of 16. ... The Vols cut a 17-point deficit to five with about 8 1/2 minutes left and had a couple of chances near the 1-minute mark to pull closer, but couldn't convert.
N.C State: N.C. State's largest lead was 55-38 on Des Lee's shot with 12 minutes left. ... N.C. State won last year's meeting 65-58 on the road in Knoxville. ... The school honored its football team during a first-half timeout ahead of the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl against Central Florida on Dec. 26.
FIRST ROAD LESSON
This was Tennessee's first true road game under Tyndall. The Volunteers had played neutral-court games against VCU, Kansas and Kansas State, and was coming off a home win against Butler. ''I think it was OK,'' Richardson said. ''We're just young so I think we've got some growing up to do on the road.''
MORE FOR ABU
N.C. State freshman forward Abdul-Malik Abu finished with eight points in a season-high 29 minutes ahead of Lennard Freeman. ''What I just try to do is have the mindset of whenever your name is called, be ready,'' he said.
Tennessee hosts Tennessee Tech on Friday.
N.C. State plays No. 22 West Virginia in New York on Saturday.
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