(We apologize for the delay on this weekends articles. There were things outside of NC State sports that both of us had to take care of. Thank you for understanding)
RALEIGH, N.C – The NC State men’s basketball team closed out the exhibition portion of its schedule with an 87-62 win over Morehouse on Saturday at PNC Arena. The Wolfpack put five players in double-digits, as all 13 players who dressed saw action during the game.
Sophomore forward T.J. Warren recorded his second consecutive double-double, equaling his exact stat line from Wednesday’s game, with a game-high 26 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Desmond Lee scored 13 points for the Wolfpack, while junior guard Ralston Turner and freshman guard Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber each had 11 points, respectively, with Barber adding a game-high six assists.
Freshman forward Kyle Washington added 10 points and came one rebound shy of a double-double, with nine boards on the afternoon.
“I thought overall, playing two exhibition games helped our team and helped our young guys,” said NC State head coach Mark Gottfried. “Even from the first game to the second, we got a little bit better. I liked our team defensively at times, we were quick, and we are learning how to help each other and when to help each other. We need to learn how to communicate better, but at times we done a pretty good job defensively.”
For the second consecutive game, the Wolfpack held a strong advantage in fast break points, outscoring Morehouse 21-4 in that respect. Moreover, State shot a crisp 54.4 percent from the field, including 42.9 percent from beyond the arc, led by Warren who connected on 11-of-15 shots. Defensively, State clamped down and allowed 23 fewer points than its previous outing, as the Tigers shot just 39.1 percent on the afternoon.
“We got better as the game went on, but that is going to be the question for our team,” Gottfried said. “Can we rebound with a smaller lineup on the floor? I thought we took a step forward and got better. It is time to move forward and get to play real games.”
With the game tied 4-4 at the outset, State outscored the Tigers 25-8 over a 10 minute span to take a 29-12 lead at the 9:49 juncture of the first half. Warren scored nine points during the stretch, igniting the Wolfpack run with five straight points and ending it with an emphatic alley-oop dunk on a pass from Lee.
Morehouse closed the gap to six points at the 6:13 mark of the half, however the Pack responded with a 13-2 run to close out the half and take a 44-27 lead into the locker room.
Following the halftime intermission, Warren scored eight of State’s first 16 points as the Wolfpack built a 60-35 lead. State led by as many as 25 on three separate occasions before pushing the advantage to 75-46 following a three-point play by Barber. From there, the Wolfpack maintained a working margin of no fewer than 21 points the rest of the way as Gottfried was able to clear the bench in the final two minutes.
D’Anthony Relaford led Morehouse on the afternoon with 17 points.
With the exhibition season now over, the Wolfpack will take on Appalachian State at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 at PNC Arena in the season opener for both teams.