Campbell hangs tough, but NC State takes over late for 81-66 win

CorrespondentNovember 16, 2013 

N.C. State still had its hands full Saturday night with Campbell with fewer than eight minutes to play.

And it was about then that the Wolfpack’s size and speed really took over.

T.J. Warren scored 23 points to lead four players in double figures as the Wolfpack escaped the Camels 81-66 on Saturday night at PNC Arena.

Ralston Turner added 13 points for N.C. State (2-1) while Desmond Lee and freshman Anthony “Cat” Barber chipped in 11 each. Tyler Lewis was the stat-sheet stuffer, with six points to go along with career highs of eight rebounds and nine assists.

The game was part of the five-team, round-robin Global Sports Shootout.

N.C. State has won 10 of the 11 meetings with the Camels, all in Raleigh, with the exception a 72-69 overtime decision at Reynolds Coliseum in 1993.

“That was an unusual game to play,” said Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried, who won his 50th game with the Wolfpack. “They do a good job with their back-door cuts and how they play offensively with their matchup zone and their 1-3-1 zone. They threw a lot at us, and I thought our young guys adjusted pretty well. I was happy we stepped up and executed the last eight or 10 minutes.”

Kestrel Heights Academy graduate and Kent State transfer Darius Leonard led Campbell with 17 points and nine rebounds. D.J. Mason added 12 points and Luke Moyer 11, both off the bench, and Leek Leek chipped in 10.

“We’re a little bit better than we played tonight,” first-year Campbell coach Kevin McGeehan said. “I hate to say that because you’re like ‘Ah, you were close, it was five points with seven minutes left,’ but we were coming in here to win. I just didn’t think we played quite as well as we can. I thought we could be a little bit more poised.”

Campbell’s closest approach in the second half was five points on two occasions, the last time on a Luke Moyer 3-pointer to make it 54-49 with 9:39 left. But the Wolfpack responded with a 20-7 run to take its biggest lead, 74-56 on Freeman’s follow layup with 3:28 left.

“Our ability to step it up on the defensive end was a big key,” Warren said. “We were able to get some easy baskets and get out on a run. That’s our style of play. Campbell plays a lot like Virginia or Boston College, a little slow-paced offense. They’re real patient. But we were able to adjust pretty well.

“I think our chemistry is coming along fine. Tyler and Cat are two good guards in the backcourt. They have the ability to make plays and get people open.”

N.C. State shot 54.4 percent from the floor to the Camels’ 46.0, won the rebound battle 37-29 and committed 10 turnovers to the visitors’ 19.

“Here’s what’s going to happen, I think,” Gottfried said. “When you have a young and inexperienced group of guys, every night’s going to be a mystery. Campbell makes the game tricky, a little harder. When you haven’t seen all the back-door cuts and the way they move the ball and the matchup zone and the 1-3-1, it’s difficult. But we did get a 15-point win going 2-for-12 from the foul line.”

The Wolfpack’s biggest weakness was at the free-throw line, where it went 2-for-12 compared to Campbell’s solid 8-for-19.

“There were some good rhythm shots for me tonight,” Ralston said. “I just tried to let the game come to me.

“I don’t think we were panicking when the game was close. The way Campbell plays, it’s a little hard to get in the rhythm. We were trying to figure them out and figure out spots to score. When we played best, our defense was allowing us to turn it up a little bit.”

Each team’s next game is against N.C. Central, with the Camels hosting the Eagles on Monday night and the Wolfpack on Wednesday.

The Wolfpack and Camels have each already beaten Appalachian State in the Shootout, while the Wolfpack lost at Cincinnati and Campbell will visit the Bearcats on Wednesday night.

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