College basketball: NCSU 76, Wake Forest 40
By Joedy McCreary
WINSTON-SALEM — Two career trips to Wake Forest, two blowout wins for North Carolina State’s Lorenzo Brown. With record-threatening results like these, the Wolfpack feel right at home on the home floor of a top rival.
Brown scored 20 points and helped N.C. State embarrass the Demon Deacons on their court once again, routing them 76-40 on Saturday for its most lopsided ACC road victory in more than half a century.
“We’re just ready to play them every time,” said Brown, a sophomore. “We watched them play a lot this year, and we were kind of like iffy about whether it would be a good game or not.”
It turned into just another blowout in Winston-Salem for the Wolfpack (13-5, 2-1). C.J. Williams added 15 points and Richard Howell had 12 points and 12 rebounds to help them win their fourth straight in the series and third in a row by at least 21 points.
N.C. State — which entered allowing an ACC-worst 70 points per game — held Wake Forest to just over half that on 29 percent shooting (16 of 55).
“I think we played the game, for us, the way that I would like our team to play,” new coach Mark Gottfried said.
C.J. Harris had 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting for the Demon Deacons (10-7, 1-2), who were 2 of 20 from 3-point range and have lost three of four as coach Jeff Bzdelik said his team had “absolutely no offensive intensity.”
He said he and the players were sticking around the Joel Coliseum afterward to watch the game tape.
“We need to see this and understand why this happened,” Bzdelik said before injecting some dry humor: “Everybody else had to watch it.”
Scott Wood added 12 points and DeShawn Painter had 12 rebounds while replacing C.J. Leslie in the starting lineup for N.C. State, which led 33-17 at halftime and then pulled away by outscoring Wake Forest 30-8 to start the second half. Brown pushed the Wolfpack lead into the 20s when his 3 roughly 3 minutes into the half made it 43-21, and Wood made it a 30-point game when his free throw with 11:37 left stretched it to 54-23.
By then, the only question was whether the Wolfpack would surpass the 112-72 rout at Clemson in December 1954 as the most lopsided ACC road victory in school history. They threatened that record here for the second time in 11 months, after N.C. State’s 80-55 rout at the once-inhospitable Joel Coliseum last February for its most one-sided road win in league play since then.
The Wolfpack one-upped themselves in an encouraging effort from start to finish. That came after they were challenged to play better defense by Gottfried after they allowed Georgia Tech to shoot 51 percent in a double-figure loss to the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday night.
“We did not play the way that we felt like we could play in our last game,” Gottfried said. “So I think our guys responded today.”
About the only thing that went wrong for N.C. State: Leslie, who didn’t start because of what Gottfried said were undisclosed disciplinary reasons, missed all three of his shots and didn’t score in 17 minutes. Gottfried said Leslie rolled his ankle in the second half but didn’t expect it to be an issue.
The Wolfpack’s defense was the story once again — this time for all the right reasons. But Brown wouldn’t go so far as to label it a statement.
“We still have a long way to go,” Brown said.
N.C. State held Wake Forest to just 17 points in the first half, the Demon Deacons’ worst half of the season.
During the final 13 minutes, they put the ball through the basket from the field only once — on Nikita Mescheriakov’s drive through the lane.
The only other field goal during that time came when Leslie was called for goaltending on Travis McKie’s drive. Wake Forest went to the locker room with more turnovers (nine) than buckets (six), no Demon Deacon player had more than one basket and the game was essentially over by then.
“For as bad as we were there, midway through the first half, if we had just executed and knocked down some shots and finished around the rim better, we would have been right there,” Bzdelik said. “But it just kept getting away from us and away from us.”
The Associated Press