Quick hits and notes from NC State's 98-77 win over Appalachian State in front of 13,164 Wolfpack fans at the PNC Arena in Raleigh Friday evening.
Play of the game
NC State took a five-point lead into the half, but Appalachian State struck first after the break with a jumper from Chris Burgress.
It might not have been flashy because a good amount of the points - at least early in the run - came on layups, but the Pack's 21-4 run in the five minutes after App State opened the second half with a bucket was key.
The award for play of the game goes to junior Desmond Lee on the second bucket of the run. He took the assist from sophomore T.J. Warren, and he converted it into three points after he was fouled by Ty Toney.
It was just one example of the energy that Lee brought to the court. He was forcing turnovers and getting the crowd into the game with his hustle plays. Lee finished with 24 points, four rebounds,two assists and two steals in his NCSU debut.
Highlight of the game
There were a few noteworthy dunks and fancy passes from the Pack in this one, but the highlight has to go to sophomore Tyler Lewis on his behind the back and around the body dish to Warren that made the score 70-46.
Nothing I write can do the play justice, but it was another of the incredible passes that NC State fans have come to expect from the second-year point guard. He had several flashy dishes during the game.
Player of the game
It's a toss-up between Warren, who had the quietest 27-point and 8-rebound game possible, and Lee, who burst onto the scene in his debut for the Pack with 24 points, four rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals in 36 minutes.
Both were also incredibly efficient - Warren was 13-of-20 from the field, while Lee made 10 of his 12 shots, including a three-pointer.
Partly because Warren's performance was not a surprise and partly because it would be near impossible for Lee to have a better introduction in his NCSU debut, Lee just barely gets the nod. Head coach Mark Gottfried commended his plays on both sides of the ball and the energy boost he provided the team and PNC Arena was evident.
Lee, who provided numerous highlights throughout the game including a few impressive dunks, also started the game off very well, while Warren got going later. Lee scored the first four Pack points and notched 13 by the half.
Second half key
NC State did not play bad by any means in the first half, but it was a competitive 43-38 game at the break. ASU shot an impressive 55.6 percent from the floor in the first half, and they made four of their seven three-point attempts. NC State also made more their half of their attempts in the first half and went into the locker room shooting 53.6 percent, but made just two of eight three-point attempts.
It was a different story after the break, as NC State improved their shooting percentage and tightened up the defense.
In the final 20 minutes, NCSU missed just 11 of its 35 shots for a shooting percentage of 68.6 percent. They also made all three of their attempts from downtown, while they limited ASU to 43.3 percent shooting (13 of 30 from the field) and just 16.7 percent from the three-point line (2-12).
State also got its transition and inside game going in the second half. They scored just 10 points on the break in the first 20 minutes compared to 17 in the second half, while they upped their production in the paint from 20 points to 40 in the final frame.
NC State finished shooting 61.9 percent from the floor, which is better than any mark they recorded last year.
The night of debuts
With just three scholarship players who logged time last year back on the team, it's no surprise the season opener served as the Wolfpack debut for several players. We'll run down all players making their first appearance in the Red and White:
- Junior guard Desmond Lee made his first bucket 1:26 into the game with a layup that cut App State's early lead to 3-2. He finished with 24 points, which was second on the team, to go along with four boards, two assists and a pair of steals.
- Redshirt junior guard Ralston Turner's first bucket came 5:56 into the game with a jumper that gave NCSU a 13-9 lead. He finished with seven points, three rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes.
- Freshman forward Kyle Washington got the start and finished with three rebounds in 22 minutes.
- Rookie point guard Anthony Barber notched a freshman-best 13 points, to go along with three rebounds and six assists in 29 minutes. He made his lone three-point attempt and was five-of-seven from the field. His first bucket came 7:55 into the game with a jumper that made it 15-11 NCSU.
- Freshman post Lennard Freeman was effective in his 19 minutes. His inaugural bucket came with 6:14 left in the first half on a layup, and he finished 3-of-3 from the field for six points, to go along with six rebounds and two assists.
- Rookie center BeeJay Anya logged seven minutes on the court and tallied three points and a board. His first points in an NCSU uniform came on a free throw with 4:14 left in the first half.
- All of the walk-ons got into the game on Friday night, and rookies Patrick Wallace and Chris Brickhouse made their NCSU debuts. Wallace hit a three-pointer for the Pack.
Other stats of note
- The Pack's top four scorers (Warren with 27 points, Lee 24, Lewis 15 and Barber 13) combined to shoot 32-46 from the floor (69.6%).
- NC State held a 32-29 advantage on the glass, and they totaled 23 rebounds on the defensive end.
- The Pack had a staggering 60-24 advantage for points in the paint, but the Mountaineers did outscore NC State in second-chance points, 11-9.
- App State forced NCSU into 15 turnovers, while the visiting team committed just 11. However, State held a 17-6 advantage in points off of turnovers.
- NC State is going to outscore most teams in transition, and that's exactly what they did tonight. They held a 27-13 advantage in the category.
- Both benches netted 25 points. The lead changed three times with the score being tied just once.