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November 16, 2013

NC State puts away pesky Campbell

NC State sophomore forward T.J. Warren scored a game-high 23 points and the Wolfpack featured four players in double figures to put away Campbell 81-66 in front of 13,143 fans Saturday at PNC Arena.

Campbell hung within striking distance, but NC State (2-1 overall) made it's definite move with 7:08 left. Campbell (2-1) sophomore guard Luke Moyer hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 59-53, but NC State responded with an impressive 15-3 run and it because curtains for the Camels.

A pair of dunks by Ralston Turner and Warren, mixed in with a Turner three-pointer, and the Wolfpack surged to a 74-56 lead with 3:38 left.

"I liked that we stepped up and executed in the last 8 or 10 minutes," NCSU coach Mark Gottfried said. "When you have a young group of guys and a very inexperienced group of guys, every night is going to be a mystery, every night."

Warren credited Campbell for making some tough shots and creating some confusing wrinkles on the court. He scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half.

"Coach has impressed on me to be more aggressive because sometimes I get a little passive," Warren said. "I try to stay alert and stay attacking."

Freshman power forward/center Lennard Freeman proved to have a knack of being in the right place at the right time, and had six points, and an assist, with the latter an alley-oop pass to Warren for an athletic jam.

Freeman and freshman center BeeJay Anya proved to be a spark in the post. Freeman finished with eight points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes, and even flashed his dribbling ability by going in for a breakaway dunk.

The "DMV boys" gave the Wolfpack energy inside with fifth-year senior center Jordan Vandenberg out with a sprained ankle.

"I thought both those two freshman did a nice job," Gottfried said. "When you play four guards, it helps that your fifth guy on the floor can have a presence inside. BeeJay blocked some shots and Lennard did a great job. He made some nice plays tonight."

Anya had his most sustained run of playing time this season and contributed four points, four rebounds and three blocks in 15 minutes of action. He also contributed one finger wagging moment after a big block that eventually resulted in Warren making a layup on the opposite end to give the Wolfpack a 28-18 lead in the first half.

Anya's five-minute spurt to close the first half gave Gottfried confidence to play him in the second.

"I've done that a few times in high school [finger wagging], but I wanted to make sure everyone knows what I am about," Anya said. "I'm defense first and blocking shots is what I do in case people forgot."

While the bigs provided a spark, 5-foot-11, 170-pound Tyler Lewis led the Wolfpack with a team-high eight rebounds, to go along with nine assists and just one turnover in 34 minutes of action. Gottfried half-joked that Lewis was quick to let everyone know who cleaned the boards Saturday night, and Warren proved the beneficiary of many of his passes.

"He did a good job and I love the fact he got nine assists and one turnover," Gottfried said. "A lot of guys in the country don't do that. That is something I don't take for granted."

Campbell made NC State work down the stretch, thanks to an impressive 13 of 21 from the field for 61.9 percent in the second half. The Camels went 8 of 19 from three-point land for the game, and 12 of 15 from the free-throw line. NCSU shot an horrific 2 of 12 from the charity stripe, but also were blistering in the second half en route to 54.4 percent for the game.

Gottfried knows points were left on the court at the foul line, but was otherwise pleased with the offensive effort.

"They do a good job with their backdoor cuts and how they play defensively with their matchup zone and 1-3-1 zone," Gottfried said. "They threw a lot at us. I thought our young guys as the game developed adjusted well, and learned how to handle it. It's hard for a young group to see that many different things."

NC State crushed Campbell 56-22 in points in the paint, and also made the Camels pay on their 19 turnovers. The Wolfpack held a 31-14 advantage in points off turnovers.

Redshirt junior and Raleigh native Darius Leonard led Campbell with 17 points and nine rebounds, and sophomore D.J. Mason added 12 off the bench. Moyer and senior Leek Leek each scored 10 points apiece for the Camels.

NC State returns to action Wednesday with a home game against North Carolina Central.

Campbell at NC State box score

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