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December 30, 2011

Quick hits from NC State's win over Campbell



Quick hits and notes from NC State's 87-81 win over Campbell in front of a rowdy 7,734 fans on Thursday night at historic Reynolds Coliseum.

Play of the game

The contest was a back-and-forth affair for nearly 30 minutes, but NC State built a four-point lead and didn't relinquish it again after a key alley-oop from point guard Alex Johnson to C.J. Leslie.

About eight and a half minutes into the second half, with NC State clinging to a two-point lead; Johnson tracked down a loose ball and found Leslie with a beautiful alley-oop. The Leslie bucket made it 60-56 and the Pack's lead wouldn't be less than three for the rest of the game.

The dunk also led to a technical foul called on Campbell's bench - their second of the game - which helped to extend the Wolfpack lead from four points to six, which was the Pack's biggest lead of the game at the time.

Highlight of the game

Lorenzo Brown set Leslie up with another nice pass - as the game was winding down and the Pack hung onto a 79-70 lead - which Leslie jammed with authority. Leslie caught the nice bounce pass and went uncontested to the hoop, where he finished with a big, one-handed slam.

Player of the game

There were a few options, but nobody played more minutes or enjoyed a more complete effort than Brown, who flirted with a triple-double.

The point guard finished with a career-high 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, in addition to a block against just two turnovers. Although Brown was 5-of-11 from the field, he got to the line often and was stellar; converting on 14-of-16 from the charity stripe.

Other standouts

Richard Howell certainly deserves recognition for the way he dominated the glass against Campbell. The junior forward set a career-high with 17 boards and also chipped in 17 points. Howell played a crucial role in the Pack's 40-22 advantage on rebounds. It marked the forward's third double-double of the season.

Vintage Brown at Reynolds

As mentioned earlier, Brown set a new career-high with 24 points. It's interesting, however, that his previous career-best of 21 came against Elon at Reynolds Coliseum.

Brown's eight boards were just one shy of tying his career-high and the two turnovers he was cited for is a season-low.

Brown also takes advantage of playing Big South conference opponents and fills up the stat sheet on those occasions. Against Big South member UNC-Asheville, Brown tallied 13 pints, nine assists, eight steals and five rebounds.

Howell has also taken advantage of Big South opponents - he has a double-double on each time out against a school from that conference. Against UNC-A, he had 14 points and a then-career-best 15 boards. Howell was perfect from the free throw line in both games, as well - 6-of-6 vs. Asheville and 5-of-5 last night.

Great atmosphere

The announced attendance for the game was 7,734 and Reynolds Coliseum was rocking. There was a noticeable contingent of Campbell fans in the crowd and they tried to make their presence felt but were drowned out pretty quickly by the home crowd.

There was some talk on press row that despite students being on break and the game falling during the holidays that Reynolds had not been that crowded since the Pack moved their basketball games to the RBC Center. Certainly not in the last couple of years.

The players even commented after the game about how impressive the fans were and how loud the Coliseum got during the game.

Sizzling from the stripe

Campbell was on fire from the 3-point line and shot 64.3 percent (9-14) and also outshot the Pack(50.9 percent to 47.5 percent) but the argument could be made that the Red and White won this game on the free throw line.

The visitors shot 73.7 percent (14-19) from the charity stripe but were really wounded by NC State's impressive free throw shooting. The Pack finished 90.3 percent (28-31) from the line, easily their best performance of the season.

What the win means

NC State improved to 9-4 overall and won its third-straight game; Campbell dropped to 9-5 and lost its fifth-straight game. State is 9-1 against the Camels all-time. NC State's three wins in a row is tied for a season best.

Other stats of note

- As mentioned early there were 15 times that the score was tied and there were also 12 lead changes in the game.
- NC State outrebounded Northeastern 40-22 and 15-6 on the offensive glass. The Pack had a 18-6 edge in second-change points.
- NC State had 14 turnovers while the Camels gave the ball up 10 times; Campbell held a 21-17 advantage on points off turnovers.
- NC State's game plan looked to be like they wanted to pound the ball inside and they went to the paint on every opportunity. They finished with a 46-24 advantage in the paint and held a 18-6 advantage in fast break points.
- Campbell got a nice boost off the bench from three-point bomber Lorne Merthie, who finished with 15 of his team's 18 points off the pine. NC State used eight players and received 15 points from its reserves, including eight from DeShawn Painter and seven from Alex Johnson.


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