Quick hits and notes from NC State's 79-76 win over Elon in front of 12,892 fans at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday.
Play of the game:
You kept waiting for NC State to go on a big run and bury Elon, but it never happened. The Wolfpack did have a mini 5-0 run at a critical junction, with senior power forward Dennis Horner finishing a three-point play with a nice post-up in the lane with 2:49 left. The Wolfpack took a 69-63 lead and hung on.
Player of the game
Horner was consistent throughout the game with 14 points in the first half to keep NC State in the game, and nine in the second en route to a career-high 23 on 10 of 17 shooting. He also added seven rebounds, one block and one steal in a team-high 32 minutes for the Wolfpack.
NC State has trailed at halftime in three of the last four games, and weren't overly pleased with only leading Georgia Southern 31-20 after the first half Dec. 12. NC State trailed 39-33 against Elon, and was behind by as many as 11 points in the first half - losing 37-26 with 2:19 left. The Wolfpack needed every bit of Horner's 14 first-half points to stay within a reasonable deficit against the Phoenix. Horner ended the first half scoring the last seven points during a 7-2 Wolfpack run. The late push helped NC State shoot 13 of 29 from the field for 44.8 percent.
NC State trailed 34-24 to Northwestern at halftime on Dec. 1, and eventually lost 65-53. The Wolfpack shot 37 percent in the first half vs. the Wildcats. NCSU also trailed Marquette 36-25 after the first half Dec. 5, before rallying for a 77-73 victory. The Pack shot just 35.7 percent against the Golden Eagles.
Scott Wood starting to press
NC State freshman small forward Scott Wood has struggled the last few weeks with his jump shot, and the slump continued against Elon. The prep sharp-shooter from Marion, Ind., went 1 for 6 from the field and 0 for 3 from three-point range en route to two points in 23 minutes.
NCSU coach Sidney Lowe said after the game that he might have jinxed Wood by always talking up how good a shooter he was in high school, which was warranted and deserved. However, Wood is now 1 for 16 from beyond the arc in his last four games. He is shooting 18 of 53 on the season, and 8 of 38 from three-point land.
NC State had five players score in double figures against Georgia Southern, but had just two against Elon. Horner scored 23 and junior center Tracy Smith added 21 in 24 minutes. The next closest player was junior point guard Javier Gonzalez with seven points in 20 minutes of action.
NC State's 7-0 run to star the second half involved a Gonzalez three-pointer, and baskets apiece by sophomore shooting guard C.J. Williams and Wood. All three baskets by the three players were their first in the game.
Gonzalez suffered a minor hamstring injury against Marquette on Dec. 5, and missed the Georgia Southern contest Dec. 12. He returned to the starting lineup against Elon, and played 20 minutes. Gonzalez scored all seven of his points in the second half, and added five assists and two steals. Lowe said after the game that he isn't 100 percent yet, and they were careful with his minutes.
Spotted at the game
NC State senior signee Lorenzo Brown of Roswell, Ga., by way of Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy attended the game. Junior college standout Bo Ingram of Kinston, N.C., who attends South Plains Junior College in Levelland,Texas, was also there. Ingram is off until Jan. 2, while Brown and Hargrave are off until Jan. 10.
Other stats of note:
• NC State out-rebounded Elon 40-36, and the Wolfpack held a 17-14 edge on offensive rebounds. The Phoenix had an edge on both categories at halftime. NC state also led 21-12 on second-chance points.
• NC State, as expected, dominated in the paint to the tune of a 46-26 edge in scoring.
• NC State had nine turnovers compared to just eight for Elon, but the Wolfpack held a 13-6 advantage for points off turnovers.
• Elon had seven steals and zero bocks, while NC State had five steals and 10 blocks. Elon held a 9-6 edge in fast-break points.
• NC State had 17 assists on its 31 made baskets, while Elon had 16 on its 30 field goals.
• The Phoenix shot 47.1 percent in the first half and 46.7 in the second. NCSU shot 44.8 percent in the first half, but shot an impressive 18 of 35 for 51.4 percent in the second, including 17 of 27 on two-pointers.