Sports

Braxton Beverly leads NC State to win over Penn State

A graduate transfer guard led NC State in scoring in Kevin Keatts’ first season as coach. The Wolfpack added another grad transfer, Eric Lockett from FIU, on Monday.
A graduate transfer guard led NC State in scoring in Kevin Keatts’ first season as coach. The Wolfpack added another grad transfer, Eric Lockett from FIU, on Monday. rwillett@newsobserver.com

Braxton Beverly’s season-high 18 points led North Carolina State to an 89-78 victory over Penn State at the Boardwalk Classic on Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Beverly’s outing marked a season-high and was his highest point total since scoring 20 points against Arizona last November. Senior guard Torin Dorn scored 15 points and junior guards Markell Johnson and C.J. Bryce added 13 points as the Wolfpack improved to 9-1 this season.

Freshman guard Rasir Bolton led Penn State with 25 points.

NC State (9-1) got off to a slow start, but an 8-0 run gave the Wolfpack a 13-9 lead six minutes into the game. They built their lead to as large as seven points with six minutes to go in the first half and went into the break up, 40- 37.

Josh Reaves scored 12 points for the NIttany Lions in the first half. Beverly, who came into the game averaging 6.6 points per contest, and Markell Johnson led NC State with eight points.

NC State maintained its lead through the early part of the second half. Each Penn State bucket was answered by a Wolfpack score on the other end until Nittany Lions guard Jamari Wheeler tied the game and put his team up 56-55 with 12:53 to go. The Nittany Lions lead was short lived as Johnson drilled a three on NC State’s next possession.

Back-to-back baskets from redshirt-sophomore forward DJ Funderburk, including a three-point basket from the top of the key, gave NC State a six-point lead just before the midway point of the second half. Funderburk knocked down a pair of free throws with 6:29 left in the game to extend the Wolfpack’s lead to 73-64 with 6:29 left in the game.

After playing just three minutes in the first half because of two quick fouls, Funderburk scored nine of his 11 points in the final 11 minutes of the second half. He finished the game 4-for-4 from the floor and 3-for-4 from the free throw line in just 13 minutes of action.

Beverly pushed NC State’s lead to 15 with a three from the top of the key and an old-fashioned three-point play on a drive down the lane. Beverley finished 7-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-4 from three.

Penn State cut the lead to single digits in the final minute, but the Wolfpack maintained a comfortable margin throughout the rest of the game. NC State faces No. 8 Auburn at home on Wednesday.

Joe Giglio covers N.C. State and has worked at The N&O since 1995. He has regularly reported on the ACC since 2005.


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