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January 6, 2011

Quick hits from NC State's win over Elon

Quick hits and notes from NC State's 87-72 win over Elon Wednesday night in front of 3,705 mostly Wolfpack fans at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum.

Play of the game

NC State did not lead until 17:50 to go in the game. That's when freshman guard Lorenzo Brown grabbed a defensive rebound off a missed shot by Elon freshman center Lucas Troutman and raced up court for a fast break. The end result was a Brown assist to freshman forward C.J. Leslie, who scored on a two-handed dunk to give the Pack a 46-44 advantage. NC State would never trail or be tied again.

Highlight of the game

NC State got off to a slow start, but the highlight of the game came with 13:28 left in the first half. That's when Brown stole the ball from Elon promising freshman guard Jack Isenbarger. Junior wing C.J. Williams awarded Brown on the fast break with an alley-oop lob that Brown slammed home.

Player of the game

Leslie was efficient on this night. He made 7 of 8 shots and finished with a team-high 19 points to go with game-highs nine rebounds and four assists. He also had a blocked shot and a steal in 26 minutes of action and had just one turnover.

Impressive offense

The offense did not start well for NC State. The Pack did not get its first field goal until Leslie had a dunk over three minutes into the game. However, the Pack ended the night with a season-high 87 points, 50 of which coming in the decisive second half during which NCSU outscored Elon by 19 points. The 50 points were the most that the Pack has scored in one half of a game this season.

NC State easily had their best shooting performance of the year. They made over 60 percent of their shot attempts in both halves and finished 30 of 48 from the field for an impressive 62.5 percent. Their previous best had been 56.9 percent against Alabama A&M Dec. 28. NC State has had three of the four best shooting performances of the season in their last three outings.

The Pack had not shot at least 60 percent from the field in a game since Jan. 30 last year against North Carolina Central. That also happened to be the last time that State scored at least 50 points in a half. NC State put up 50 points in the second half of that game as well.

Five different Wolfpack players scored in double figures for just the third time this year and first since a 78-65 win over George Mason in Charleston, S.C., Nov. 19. In addition to Leslie, freshman guard Ryan Harrow had 18 points, senior low post player Tracy Smith 15, junior wing Scott Wood 13 and sophomore power forward Richard Howell 10.

Howell and Harrow both came off the bench, while Smith made his first start since returning from knee surgery Nov. 19. He came off the bench to score 16 points against San Diego Jan. 1 in his return to the court.

Physical game

A total of 47 fouls were whistled in the game, and the two teams combined to shoot 60 free throws. NC State shook off a bad first half effort at the line where they went 9 of 18 to finish 24 of 36. Elon was a blistering hot 23 of 24 at the free throw line.

The total number of fouls were the second most in a game for NC State this year. There were 48 fouls called in the NC State-East Carolina matchup Nov. 18 in Charleston. The 60 free throw attempts were also the second most in a game involving NC State. The season opener against Tennessee Tech in the RBC Center Nov. 12 had 63 free throw attempts.

There were also three technical fouls called. One was on NC State senior guard Javier Gonzalez for complaining about a foul called on him while he was guarding Elon senior guard Chris Long. Long would make four free throws to match Elon's largest lead of the game at 39-29 with 2:34 to go in the first half.

Howell and Elon junior big man Scott Grable were given technical fouls after jarring at each other following a tough foul from Grable, who fouled out on the play.

Elon can bombs away

How did Elon get off to a pair of 10-point leads in the first half? They can shoot lights out. For the game Elon made 9 of 19 three-point attempts for 47.4 percent. They were 6 of 12 from beyond the arc in the first half. That's not uncommon for Elon however. They have made at least seven three-pointers in a game in all but two of their 14 outings, and they have hit at least 10 threes in six contests.

What the win means

NC State finishes its non-conference slate at 10-4 in the 2010-11 season. Elon falls to 6-8 overall and is already 0-3 in Southern Conference action. Like NC State, Elon plays only league games from here on out.

NC State is 20-8 in the all-time series with Elon and have won all four games that has been played since the 1926-27 season. Last year NC State squeaked out a 79-76 win in the RBC Center. The Phoenix are scheduled to play at NC State again next year. The Pack is now 181-28 all-time against Southern Conference teams.

This is the fourth ACC team Elon has played this year, all losses. Wake Forest, whom NC State faces in the conference opener for both teams at the RBC Center Saturday, knocked off Elon 89-70 Nov. 20, also in the Greensboro Coliseum. Elon lost at Maryland 76-57 Nov. 26 and No. 1 Duke 98-72 Dec. 20.

Other stats of note

- NC State outrebounded Elon 35-26 overall, but Elon had a 12-10 advantage on the offensive glass that can be explained in the shooting percentages. While the Pack shot 62.5 percent, Elon finished the game shooting just 35.1 percent. NC State had a decisive edge in second-change points at 17-6.
- NC State had a season-high 10 steals compared to five for Elon, which helped State own a 12-2 advantage in fast break points.
- The Pack owned the paint, outscoring Elon 44-18.
- Both teams had 16 turnovers. State had a 22-16 edge in points off turnovers.
- Both teams got good production from its benches. NC State had a slight 30-24 advantage in bench points.


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