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October 18, 2013

White prevails in intrasquad scrimmage, 39-38

Friday night's Primetime With The Pack was the unofficial start to the NC State basketball season and fans were treated to a tight battle in the 20-minute intrasquad scrimmage. The white team, led by sophomore point guard Tyler Lewis and fifth-year senior center Jordan Vandenberg, prevailed 39-38 in one that came down to the wire.

Lewis led the way with 16 points, five assists and three rebounds, and Vandenberg notched 12 points and a game-best seven rebounds. Sophomore forward T.J. Warren led the way for the Red team with 13 points, plus three steals, two blocks and two rebounds.

Some of the NCSU newcomers, such as power forward Kyle Washington and point guard Anthony Barber, showed flashes in their PNC Arena debuts, but it was the trio of experienced players that really shined.

"The young guys are still learning," head coach Mark Gottfried said. "Cat [Barber] has a minute here or there, Desmond [Lee] has something here or there, but I thought that Jordan, Tyler and T.J., as the most experienced guys, they played maybe a little bit better than everybody else.

"We have such great fans, it's fun for our guys. The scrimmage part, it's still early. I do like the fact that our young guys are trying to learn and they're starting to do some things early on here that I like. Overall, it was a good night, a fun night."

Both Vandenberg and Warren have shed unnecessary pounds from last year and there was a noticeable difference on the court in their play. It was needed as both players played all 20 minutes in the contest.

"T.J. and I just have a lot more stamina," Vandenberg explained. "Between the two of us, I think we lost like [60] pounds. We got a lot lighter and move well, I think it's going to help us a lot during the season."

Gottfried talked to both players after last season ended and motivated them to lose weight.

"I like the fact that Jordan has put himself in a position to have a good year," he said. "He's in the best shape of his life, he has good stamina and conditioning, and it shows. He's running up and down the floor without getting tired and he can affect the game because he isn't getting tired so much.

"T.J. is just in great physical shape and because of that, he's going to have a great year. He's up and down the floor, he's not getting tired. He's got a knack and an uncanny ability to make shots. Now he's in such great shape, he gets up and down the floor so much more."

Redshirt junior wing Ralston Turner chipped in five points, three rebounds and two steals for the White team, and Washington notched four points, seven boards, two blocks and an assist.

For the Red team, junior guard Desmond Lee netted nine points and a rebound, and Barber chipped in eight points and two boards. Freshman post players Lennard Freeman and BeeJay Anya had five and three points respectively, while Freeman pulled down a team-best six rebounds.

Gottfried was happy to see a competitive game on the floor when the lights came on for the first time, and said that is the same mindset he sees in the practice gym. Lewis and Barber in particular went at it during certain parts of the game.

"I think competition always makes you better and I think our players are competing," Gottfried said. "They don't really have any idea who is going to start, how we're going to play and who is gong to play what minutes. That's good for them, it's good for guys to compete like that and I think it's going to help our team."

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