N.C. State 68, Winthrop 52
Associated PressRALEIGH ó Winthrop achieved its goal of slowing down N.C. State’s Tracy Smith. The Eagles just couldn’t figure out how to stop Smith’s teammates.
Dennis Horner scored 12 points to help the Wolfpack defeat Winthrop 68-52 on Tuesday night. Richard Howell added 11 points for N.C. Stat which responded with a 9-0 run after its 23-point lead diminished to eight points early in the second half.
“I thought they did a great job on Tracy,” Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe said. “They gave a team effort. We knew their strategy was to take Tracy out of the game and force someone else to beat them, and they stuck to the gameplan.”
Smith, returning from a one-game suspension for criticizing officials after N.C. State’s 67-59 loss at Wake Forest, scored a season-low nine points on 4-for-8 shooting.
The Eagles (5-7) swarmed Smith with multiple defenders inside, leaving N.C. State’s shooters open on the perimeter. The Wolfpack (9-3) took advantage, moving out to a 41-29 halftime lead on the strength of a 30-7 run that began early in the period.
N.C. State scored on 11 of 12 possessions, including 10 in a row, to take a 32-9 lead with 8:25 remaining in the half.
“Games can be won and lost in different segments of the game,” Winthrop coach Randy Peele said. “That segment really put us behind the 8-ball.”
The Wolfpack made seven 3-pointers and converted a three-point play during that nine-minute span, which featured two timeouts by the Eagles as they tried to slow the barrage.
Scott Wood scored all nine of his points on three 3-pointers during the spurt, forcing the Eagles to come out of their zone defense and pick up the Wolfpack man to man.
“The team fed off Scott’s 3s because he hasn’t been shooting the ball well,” said N.C. State point guard Javier Gonzalez, who had eight points and a career-high 10 rebounds. “To see him shoot the ball the way he did kind of gave us a lift. Everybody got pumped up.”
Wood, who entered the game shooting 21 percent from 3-point range, had plenty of help. Farnold Degand had nine points, including a pair of 3-pointers during the early run, after scoring a combined nine points in his previous five games this season.
N.C. State finished 10-for-21 from behind the arc.
“We came out really hot shooting the 3-ball,” Howell said. “I can’t believe we were just knocking them down like that. But it all started on the defensive end.”