NC State rolls past Florida Gulf Coast 82-62AARON BEARD (AP Basketball Writer) Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—T.J. Warren had a season-high 30 points and nine rebounds to help North Carolina State beat Florida Gulf Coast 82-62 on Tuesday night.
Freshman Anthony ”Cat” Barber added 12 points for the Wolfpack (3-2), while fifth-year senior Jordan Vandenberg had his own strong game with seven points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in his first action this year following a preseason ankle injury.
N.C. State shot 55 percent, dominated the boards and got plenty of easy baskets in the paint to coast to an easy home win.
Chase Fieler scored 18 to lead the Eagles (4-2), who shot 35 percent and struggled to slow N.C. State’s humming-along offense all night. Florida Gulf Coast - which grabbed national attention with its ”Dunk City” run to the NCAA round of 16 last season - trailed by 15 at halftime and by as many as 27 points in the second half.
N.C. State was coming off last week’s overtime home loss to North Carolina Central, a surprising result offering a reminder that the reconfigured Wolfpack would need time to develop an overhauled roster.
Third-year coach Mark Gottfried juggled his starting lineup for this one, moving Barber in at point guard instead of sophomore Tyler Lewis while starting Vandenberg in his season debut.
Vandenberg suffered a Grade 3 sprain of his left ankle during an exhibition win against UNC Pembroke on Oct. 30 and was expected to miss 4-6 weeks. His debut came on the early side of that prognosis, giving the Wolfpack a big boost against Florida Gulf Coast that was about more than just his 7-foot-1 frame.
One of three returning scholarship players who saw action last year for the Wolfpack, Vandenberg had averaged 1.2 points for his career but had eight rebounds and two assists by halftime. Then came the highlight move of Vandenberg’s career, catching a transition pass from Barber in the air then twisting around to throw down a one-handed slam that gave the Wolfpack a 50-30 lead with 16:35 left.
From there, N.C. State treated its fans to a crowd-pleasing rout, with freshman BeeJay Anya entering the game for the first time midway through the half then throwing down three slams in a 2-minute span that pushed the Wolfpack’s lead to 68-41 with about 9 minutes to play.
Warren went 13-for-18 from the field in 29 minutes, while Barber had six assists in his 27 minutes. N.C. State finished with a 43-25 rebounding advantage, scored 17 second-chance points and managed 54 points in the paint - several coming on dunks for an offense that had no problem getting out in transition.
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