NC State beats Boston College 76-62By AARON BEARD, AP Basketball Writer Thursday, Jan 19, 2012
C.J. Leslie added 14 points to help the Wolfpack (14-5) reach 3-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play for the first time in six years. N.C. State ran off 15 straight points to take control and pushed the lead to 18 by late in the first half, then cruised for its eighth win in nine games.
The Wolfpack shot 52 percent, including 58 percent in a first half with plenty of transition chances—often off turnovers by the mistake-prone Eagles (7-11, 2-2).
N.C. State led 45-28 at the break and never let BC closer than 16 points until the final minute. It was the kind of performance the Wolfpack lacked in last week’s home loss to Georgia Tech.
Dennis Clifford scored 12 to lead the Eagles, who shot 40 percent and committed 17 turnovers.
Under first-year coach Mark Gottfried, N.C. State has lost just once since falling to top-ranked Syracuse at home on Dec. 17. That other loss came in a surprisingly flat performance in the 82-71 loss to the Yellow Jackets on Jan. 11. However, the Wolfpack did respond to the Tech loss with a 36-point romp at Wake Forest last weekend for the program’s second-biggest margin of victory in an ACC road game in nearly six decades.
Gottfried had plenty to feel good about Thursday, too. Richard Howell (11 points, 16 rebounds) looked active while leading a front line that got plenty of good looks in the paint, while Lorenzo Brown (11 assists) kept pushing the ball in transition to keep the Wolfpack on the attack. Meanwhile, N.C. State’s defenders kept slapping the ball loose from the Eagles to hinder an already limited offense.
It was a confidence-building victory just in time for a difficult stretch of the schedule, with five of the next seven on the road.
The biggest worry for N.C. State came when senior C.J. Williams appeared to injure his right shoulder with about nine minutes left, sending him to the bench to wear a bulky bandage the rest of the night.
After BC erased an early 10-point deficit to tie the game at 21, five different N.C. State players scored during the 15-0 spurt that put the Eagles away early.
Howell scored five during the run, which ended when Wood buried a jumper to make it 36-21 with 3:11 left. Boston College ended its 6-minute drought with a 3-pointer from Jordan Daniels, but N.C. State answered with a turnaround jumper from Williams, a transition layup from Howell and a driving reverse layup by Leslie that made it 42-24 with about 90 seconds left before the break.
The Wolfpack opened the second half with six straight points, including consecutive baskets from Williams that made it 51-28 and forced BC coach Steve Donahue to burn a timeout 3 1/2 minutes in. By that point, N.C. State had outscored Boston College 30-7 over a 12-minute span.