Ralston Turner leads NC State to 65-56 win against Maryland

jgiglio@newsobserver.comJanuary 20, 2014 

— After lopsided losses to Virginia and Duke, and a heartbreaker at Wake Forest, there was no doubt about what N.C. State needed Monday against Maryland.

“We definitely needed a win for our confidence,” junior guard Ralston Turner said.

With 23 points from Turner, who started for injured T.J. Warren, that’s just what the Wolfpack got at PNC Arena, a 65-56 decision over the Terrapins.

Turner made five 3-pointers, all during the second half, to lift the Wolfpack (12-7, 2-4) to its second win against Maryland since 2006. The Terps, who are leaving for the Big Ten in June, got a going-away present – complete with some N.C. State fans chanting “ACC! ACC!” as they exited the court – on Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried’s 50th birthday.

“Our guys were determined, they were absolutely determined not to lay down,” Gottfried said. “It was a great win for our group.”

Warren, who averages an ACC-best 22.2 points per game, injured an ankle late in Saturday’s loss to Duke, Gottfried said. He was unable to practice Sunday and was gimpy in the shoot-around Monday afternoon. Without Warren, the Pack relied on Turner, who made a pair of 3-pointers – the second at 8 minutes, 50 seconds in the second half – to put the Wolfpack ahead for good.

Turner also scored eight straight points after Maryland (11-8, 3-3) had cut N.C. State’s lead to 54-53 with a putback by sophomore forward Charles Mitchell, who finished with 18 rebounds.

“I think somewhere out there in the second half, I kind of lost myself and just started playing,” said Turner, who matched his previous career-high. “I don’t know how to explain it.”

It wasn’t just a three-game losing streak in the ACC, or that the Pack had lost five of seven coming in, it was the way it had lost – by 35 at Duke and by 31 to Virginia eight days before that.

For an inexperienced team, which had shown some encouraging signs of fight in the nonconference schedule, it was reaching a do-or-die point. The Pack’s collective psyche had been shaken after the Duke blowout.

Asked where the team’s confidence was before the Maryland win, Turner responded: “Who knows? It wasn’t sky high, I can tell you that.”

But after Turner lit up the Maryland defense during the second half, there’s new light on the season. Guards Cat Barber (13 points, four assists) and Desmond Lee (14 points, four steals) overcame their own recent struggles to support Turner’s shooting clinic.

Lee, a junior, showed his value on defense, limiting Maryland’s top scorer, junior Dez Wells, to 10 points (he made just two field goals). Forward Kyle Washington added 10 rebounds and a key dunk early in the second half to help erase an 11-point deficit, and forward BeeJay Anya blocked four shots.

“It wasn’t just me,” Turner said.

True, but Turner was a big part of the win without Warren. Gottfried said his team needs Warren, they all know that, but the best birthday gift from his team was its ability to bounce back from the Duke loss.

“You can’t build any excuses,” Gottfried said. “You just have to step your game up.”


Percentages: FG .314, FT .385. 3-Point Goals: 7-22, .318 (Smotrycz 2-3, Allen 2-6, Wells 1-3, Layman 1-4, Faust 1-6). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots: 5 (Layman 2, Dodd, Cleare, Faust). Turnovers: 12 (Wells 3, Allen 2, Mitchell 2, Cleare, Dodd, Smotrycz, Graham, Faust). Steals: 4 (Faust, Cleare, Allen, Mitchell). Technical Fouls: None.


Percentages: FG .404, FT .636. 3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Turner 5-15, Barber 0-2, Lewis 0-2). Team Rebounds: 8. Blocked Shots: 5 (Anya 4, Vandenberg). Turnovers: 8 (Lee 4, Washington 3, Turner). Steals: 5 (Lee 4, Barber). Technical Fouls: None.

NC State204565

A—11,447. Officials—Tim Nestor, Gary Maxwell, Ed Corbett.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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