ACC Basketball: N.C. State beats UNC-Asheville
RALEIGH ó Mark Gottfried couldnít make it through his first game at North Carolina State without ripping off his jacket and throwing it to the ground in disgust at an officialís call ó twice. Then again, Gottfriedís new program has been in desperate need of that kind of passion and spark.
Senior C.J. Williams had a career-high 18 points to help the Wolfpack beat UNC Asheville 84-75 on Friday in Gottfriedís debut.
Richard Howell added 14 points and 15 rebounds for N.C. State, which had relatively little trouble against a veteran team coming off an NCAA tournament appearance. The Wolfpack dominated the boards and repeatedly got out in transition, taking a double-digit lead barely 4 minutes into the game and maintaining a comfortable lead the rest of the night.
It was a good start for Gottfried, who had spent the past two seasons as a TV analyst after 11 years as coach at Alabama.
ěI was anxious all day for me and for our team,î Gottfried said. ěSo it was fun. Iíve always felt like thatís where I belong. Iíve said it many times: I loved television but I like to be on this side of the court than that side. Iíll do that later on in life.î
Gottfried certainly looked recharged, spending much of the game on his feet and actively pacing the sideline while yelling instructions to his players. N.C. State never let the Bulldogs (0-1) closer than six points after that early flurry, running the lead out to as many as 19 points late in the first half and never letting the lead slip below seven after halftime.
N.C. State was shorthanded for this one after the school announced shortly before tipoff that sophomore forward C.J. Leslie would miss three games after he and a relative received $410 in improper benefits. In addition, freshman reserve Thomas de Thaey didnít play because the school is working to ensure the Belgium native doesnít have any amateur eligibility issues from overseas.
But Howell, Williams and Lorenzo Brown thrived in the Packís faster offense.
N.C. State had a 23-7 edge in fast-break points behind Brown, who had 13 points, nine assists and eight steals ó all in the first half ó at the point.
ěI like to get out and run,î Williams said.
N.C. Stateís zeal to get out in transition under Gottfried was probably the most noticeable difference from the past five seasons under Sidney Lowe, whose teams never lived up to potential nor made it to the NCAA tournament. Then there was Gottfriedís self-described ěanimatedî disagreement with the officiating in the second half.
After a borderline foul on Scott Wood in the second half, Gottfried ripped off his black suitcoat and threw it angrily to his chair. Seconds later, Gottfried sat down in the chair and ó for good measure ó grabbed the coat with both hands and spiked it down again between his feet.