RALEIGH — N.C. State owed Stanford one for the game it gave away last year in California.
Junior Lorenzo Brown asserted himself in the second half and senior Scott Wood rained 3-pointers in the first half to pay the Cardinal back with a 88-79 win on Tuesday night at PNC Arena.
Brown scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half, and added five assists for the game, as N.C. State stretched a five-point halftime lead into a 17-point cushion midway through the second half.
No. 25 N.C. State (8-2) led Stanford by as many as 12 points last year in the second half before losing 76-72 at Maples Pavilion. The Pack's season ended in the NCAA tournament, and the Cardinal's with an NIT title, but State did not forget how it let the game slip away.
Brown made sure the Pack closed out the Cardinal (7-4) this time for its second win over a major conference team this season (Connecticut), with home dates against St. Bonaventure, Western Michigan and UNC-Greensboro before ACC play begins on Jan. 5 at Boston College.
Wood (17 points) made five 3-pointers, all in the first half, to keep the senior's "Rule of Four" in effect. Since the start of last season, when Wood has made at least four 3-pointers, the Pack is 12-0, including two wins this season.
With Stanford's Dwight Powell (23 points) controlling the inside, the Wolfpack needed to rely on its perimeter scorers. After a sluggish first half, with six points and two unforced turnovers, Brown found his groove early in the second half.
The junior guard scored seven of State's nine points in a 2-minute stretch and then handed out two assists, the second to set up an easy dunk for Richard Howell with 10:58 left in the game.
Brown's bank shot with 9:19 left stretched State's lead to 69-52, the largest of the game. The Cardinal stayed in the game with its rebounding.
Josh Huestis' outback with 5:30 let cut the Pack's advantage to 71-64.
Howell powered through the lane for a bucket at 5:02 to stem the Cardinal's momentum. Howell finished with his fourth straight double-double (17 points and 11 rebounds) and fifth in six games.
The first half was all Wood. After making only one 3 in the past two games, in seven attempts, Wood made his first two of the game and five of the first seven. His fifth 3, and third in as many possessions, at 9:08 gave the Pack a 29-20 lead.
Powell had back-to-back dunks at C.J. Leslie's expense, the second at 2:57 cutting State's lead to 39-33. Powell scored Stanford's last nine points of the first half.
Leslie's dunk, after a miss by Rodney Purvis, with 54.6 seconds left in the half gave the Pack the 43-38 advantage at the half.
N.C. State blocked a season-best 11 shots in Tuesday's 88-79 win over Stanford and has blocked 25 shots in the past three games.
Scott Wood, 7-footer Jordan Vandenberg, C.J. Leslie and T.J. Warren tied for the team lead with two blocks.
"I'm a blocked shot machine, dude, don't bring it in my house," Wood joked after the game.
Stanford finished the game with six free throws and two in the second half. The Cardinal had 34 last year, despite trailing for most of the second half. The difference? An ACC crew called the game last year in California and a Pac-12 crew called Tuesday's game.
Or, as Lorenzo Brown theorized: "I guess Richard (Howell) didn't foul them as much."
Brown equaled his career-high with 24 points. He had three 20-point games last year, including 24 against Campbell, and now has five in his career.
"That's the best game he has had this year," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said of the junior point guard.