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January 4, 2012
NC State made sure last second heroics weren't needed this year against Delaware State.
The Wolfpack ended the first half on a devastating 22-0 run to roll to an easy 78-44 victory over the Hornets on Wednesday in front of 10,159 fans at the RBC Center.
The spurt gave NC State a commanding 42-18 lead at halftime en route to improving to 11-4 overall. Delaware State fell to 4-9.
The last meeting against Delaware State was drastically different. Current NCSU junior Scott Wood got an offensive rebound and made a seven-footer with 2.1 seconds left to win the game 72-70 on Dec. 22, 2010.
NC State led wire-to-wire with its biggest lead at 37 points with 6:55 left in the second half. The first 13 minutes proved to be competitive. Freshman guard Tahj Tate came off the bench gunning and had six points to cut NCSU's lead to 20-18 with 7:19 left in the first half. The Wolfpack outscored the Hornets 58-26 over the final 27:19, with several easy dunks and layups in the second half.
"It's always tough when you have to win one at the buzzer and scratch and claw the whole game, so when you have a big margin win, it's definitely a lot easier," Wood said. "In the beginning, we didn't have a whole lot of energy and shots weren't falling. We were kind of back on our heels. Once we had a couple of shots go in, and defensively started to pick it up a little bit, we started to get on a roll."
NC State ability to put teams away has been a critical step in its development.
"You always talk about doing the right thing and play the game the right way," NC State coach Mark Gottfried said. "Each team, that's a little bit difference. This team needs to play a certain way where we execute offensively and take great shots. To defend the right way. I think we have stayed true to that.
"Even with a large lead, I thought we played the game the way we need to play."
The balanced Wolfpack featured six players with at least seven points led by sophomore power forward C.J. Leslie and Wood with 14 points apiece. Junior power forward Richard Howell continued his run of double-doubles with 12 points and 12 rebounds, giving him four straight games.
NC State crushed Delaware State on the boards 49-31, and held the Hornets to 29.5 percent from the field (18 of 61). The results served as a good tuneup for Sunday's ACC opener against Maryland at the RB Center.
"I was proud of the fact that the guys focused in on this game," Gottfried said. "I think this time of the year it's easy to think about starting ACC play. I thought our guys did a good job of handling that situation tonight in a real nice way.
"It's going to be difficult for our team to win a lot of games [in the ACC]. We aren't a great team. We've been near the bottom of this league for a long time. It's going to be a dogfight for us every night."
Delaware State previously played at Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Georgia, among others. The Hornets played without starting point guard Jay Threatt.
"I thought we got beat by a much better basketball team," Delaware State coach Greg Jackson said. "It was obvious today, they beat us in every phase of the game, Every time you play a team at this level, and you don't control the tempo, and you don't take away the opportunity for them."
Jackson was impressed by the impact Gottfried has made in such a short period of time after last year's nail-biter.
"They space the floor so well and they understand where they're going to get their points from," Jackson said. "I look for them to have a lot of success in their conference. I think they're going to be very successful in the ACC."
N.C. State NEWS