ACC Basketball: N.C. State 82, Western Carolina 55
RALEIGH ó North Carolina State dominated with points in transition. The Wolfpack couldnít have done it without rebounds from Richard Howell.
Howell scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to help N.C. State beat Western Carolina 82-55 on Saturday afternoon.
The Wolfpack (10-4) outscored the Catamounts 34-4 on fast-break points, including 20-0 in the first half.
ěRichard really is the guy who is initiating our break with his rebounds, more than anybody,î N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. ěWe need to collectively rebound. I hope our team isnít falling into that mindset that heís going to get every one. Theyíre starting to leak out a little bit.î
It was Howellís fourth consecutive game of at least 12 rebounds. Prior to the streak, he had produced three such performances in the previous 70 games of his career.
ěI think my stamina is a huge part of it,î Howell said. ěIím not getting as tired as quickly. I can get off the ground a couple of times to get rebounds and not be tired. Now I think I can go almost a whole half straight just getting rebounds or doing whatever my team needs me to do.î
C.J. Williams scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half for the Wolfpack, who improved to 14-0 all-time against the Catamounts (7-7).
Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie added 14 points apiece for N.C. State. Scott Wood had 11 points.
The Wolfpack shot 57.7 percent (30 of 52) from the floor en route to their fourth consecutive win. N.C. Stateís starting five combined to make 28 of 41 shots from the field.
The Wolfpack led 47-24 at halftime and scored the first nine points of the second half.
Keaton Cole scored 12 points to lead Western Carolina, coached by former N.C. State assistant Larry Hunter. The Catamounts went the first five minutes of each half without a field goal.
ěI was impressed with their defense today,î Hunter said. ěI thought they came out and took care of business.î
Western Carolina shot 30.8 percent (20 of 65) from the field and trailed by as many as 41 points in the second half.
The Catamounts finished with just four assists to go with 12 turnovers.
ěI thought the first 30 minutes was maybe as good defensively as weíve been this year,î Gottfried said. ěWe defended with a purpose more than we have. We tried to take specific things away, and I thought our guys executed that.î
N.C. State seized control early, scoring on five consecutive possessions to take a 12-3 lead six minutes into the game.
Western Carolina pulled within 19-13 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Trey Sumler and Brandon Boggs, but the Wolfpack responded with a 17-2 run. Howell scored six points during that span, igniting the spurt with a layup and a jumper on consecutive possessions.
The Wolfpack missed their first four shots from the field, but they made 14 of their next 17 to take a 40-17 lead with four minutes to go in the first half.
ěOur defense has to set the tone for our offense,î Wood said. ěWhen weíre a really good defensive team and knowing what to do at the right times, we can be really good.î