It hasn't taken very long for Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren to make an impact for North Carolina State.
Impressive defensive play is also making a difference.
The freshmen duo will try to keep the Wolfpack perfect and help the program to its first victory over Massachusetts in the semifinals of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Friday night.
Purvis and Warren were considered to be among the top high school recruits in the country, giving North Carolina State (2-0) an impressive tandem entering this season.
So far, they're living up to the hype.
Purvis has totaled 28 points on 10 of 18 from the floor and 6 of 8 from 3-point range through two games.
After a relatively quiet game in his collegiate debut, Warren scored 22 points in Thursday's 72-55 win over Penn State. Purvis added 12 points and hit all three of his 3-point attempts.
"T.J. and Rodney gave us a great scoring lift when we needed it in the first half," coach Mark Gottfried said.
While Purvis and Warren are leading the way offensively, the Wolfpack have also been helped by a strong defense. They've held opponents to 57.0 points per game and 30.2 percent shooting, including 22.2 from beyond the arc.
Gottfried was mostly pleased with his team's play against the Nittany Lions.
"It was a good, physical game," he said. "It's good for us to play a strong, physical team that will challenge us around the basket and Penn State did that. Defensively, at times, we were very good. And, at times, we were disinterested defensively."
North Carolina State is the only ranked team in this eight-team tournament, but it's lost all three meetings with UMass (2-0). However, the most recent matchup came on January 1, 2003.
The Minutemen have already proven their ability to win close games, taking their first two by a combined five points.
Terrell Vinson tipped the ball into the basket as time expired to give UMass a 77-75 win over Providence in the opening round of this tournament Thursday. That came two days after Sampson Carter hit a 3 in the final seconds to secure a season-opening 67-64 win over Harvard.
"I just don't want this to become a habit — where you let a lead get away and have to win at the end," coach Derek Kellogg said.
Jesse Morgan has been the team's top offensive threat, scoring 18 points against the Friars after he had 19 in the opener. He averaged 9.9 points as a sophomore last season.
Fellow guard Chaz Williams — the team leader with 16.9 points per game last season — scored 17 on 7 of 13 from the field Thursday.
The winner of this game will play Oklahoma State for the tournament title on Sunday, with the losing teams meeting in the consolation game earlier in the day against Tennessee.
UMass (2-0) vs. No. 6 NC State (2-0)
Game time: Friday, Nov. 16, 5 p.m. — Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez, Bayamon, Puerto Rico
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, Jr., 11.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.5 apg, 2.0 spg)
SG — 0 Rodney Purvis (6-2, 195, Fr., 14.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.0 apg)
SF — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 9.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.5 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 12.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.5 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 12.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.0 bpg)
PG — 3 Chaz Williams (5-9, 175, Jr., 14.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 7.5 apg, 2.0 spg)
SG — 23 Freddie Riley (6-5, 190, Sr., 0.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg)
SF — 33 Terrell Vinson (6-7, 220, Sr., 11.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 spg, 1.0 bpg)
PF — 34 Raphiael Putney (6-9, 185, Jr., 11.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 2.0 spg, 1.5 bpg)
C — 25 Cady Lalanne (6-9, 250, Soph., 8.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.5 bpg)
Location: Amherst, Mass.
2011-12 record: 25-12 overall, 9-7 Atlantic 10
2012 postseason: Lost 74-64 to Stanford in NIT semifinal
Coach: Derek Kellogg fourth year overall and at UMass (66-65)
Series: UMass leads 3-0
Last meeting: UMass won 68-56 on Jan. 2, 2003.
UMass: Williams attended Hofstra his freshman year, and averaged 9.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists, but elected to transfer to UMass. He made an immediate impact last year in averaging 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2.2 steals per contest. He cracked double figures in points in all but three contests last year. Williams had a season-high 29 points (plus nine assists) against Xavier in a win, and added 28 against Mississippi State in the NIT win. He finished with five double-doubles for points and assists, but also was turnover prone at times. He has 10 turnovers against Miami and nine at Rhode Island … Putney averaged 10.1 points, 5.9 points and 1.4 blocks per game his sophomore season. He had a career-high 22 points against Saint Louis, and he also had 10 points and 16 boards against Mississippi State in the NIT. He finished with four double-doubles … Junior wing Jesse Morgan has come off the bench the first two games. He had a team-high 19 points and added seven rebounds in the 67-64 win over Harvard on Nov. 13, and he had 18 points and four three-pointers in the 77-75 win over Providence on Thursday … Riley has started the first two games, but is 0 or 4 and is scoreless. He was a noted long-range shooter coming out of high school, where he spent his last year at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. He had six three-pointers and 20 points, both season highs, against Siena on Dec. 9, 2011, and started eight games last year … Lalanne was slated to attend Georgia, but ended up at UMass and sat out his first year. He didn't play a game after Dec. 30, 2011, last year … Vinson was evaluated by NC State out of high school, first while at Rockville (Md.) Montrose Christian and then he finished up at Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances Academy. He originally signed with Loyola Marymount, but they went through a coaching change. Vinson had a season-high 21 points at George Washington, and had 20 against St. Bonaventure last year … UMass crushed Boston College 82-46 on Nov. 21, 2011, and lost 73-53 to Florida State three days later. The Minutemen also lost 83-75 to Miami on Dec. 3, 2011.