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December 23, 2012

Quick hits from NC State's win over St. Bonaventure

Quick hits and notes from No. 25 NC State's 92-73 victory over St. Bonaventure in front of 16,288 fans at the PNC Arena in Raleigh Saturday afternoon.

Play of the game

It came in the first half with NC State leading St. Bonaventure 24-18. The Bonnies' fifth-year senior guard Michael Davenport turned it over when NCSU junior forward C.J. Leslie knocked the ball away into the backcourt. Leslie ran down the loose basketball near the baseline corner, turned, and after taking a dribble or two, lofted a perfect soft lob pass to junior guard Lorenzo Brown for a two-handed alley-oop dunk with 6:25 remaining in the half.

St. Bonaventure immediately called a timeout after the dunk.

Highlight of the game

See the play of the game.

Player of the game

When Leslie comes to play with the type of energy level that he brought to the court Saturday afternoon, he can look like the potential ACC player of the year that he can be. Leslie scored a career-high 33 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field and 13-of-18 shooting from the line. He added eight rebounds, three blocks, two assists and a steal in 33 minutes.

His previous career-high in scoring had been 24 points that he scored last season in February against UNC in Raleigh. Leslie also set a new career high for field goals made, topping the nine against the Tar Heels the night of his previous scoring career high. Leslie also set new career-highs in free throws attempted and made. His previous personal bests had both came against Texas last season when he made 9 of 16 free throws.

Leslie's 33 points raised his season scoring average from 13.2 points to 15.0 points.

Offense rolls again

It's hard to imagine that it's possible for NC State to keep shooting at this pace. The Pack led the country in field goal percentage at 53.0 percent coming into the game. That number went up to 53.4 percent after the Pack made 32 of 56 shots Saturday, or 57.1 percent of its shots.

The 92 points scored were the third most in a game thus far this year for the Pack, trailing only the 97 in the season opener at home against Miami of Ohio Nov. 9 and 94 rolled up in Puerto Rico on Massachusetts Nov. 16. It was also the most scored against St. Bonaventure, easily topping the 79 points they allowed to Buffalo in a three-point Bonnies victory Dec. 1.

NC State had 21 assists on its 32 made baskets, led by Brown who dished out 11 assists (compared to just two turnovers). Brown established a new season-high of 11 assists and was just two off his career-high set last season against Syracuse.

Wood on fire

Senior wing Scott Wood would have been an easy choice for player of the game had it not been for Leslie. Wood scored 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting, making 5 of 7 three-pointers. He added four rebounds, three assists, a steal and a blocked shot. Wood has 11 blocks in 11 games this season.

Wood had not scored that many points in a game since he had 23 in a win over Wake Forest in Raleigh last Feb. 4. He has made 10 three-pointers in the last two games combined to pick back up the pace in his pursuit to overcome Rodney Monroe for most career made three-pointers at NC State.

Wood now has 259 career made threes, which moved him into a tie with Clemson's Terrell McIntyre for the 17th most in ACC history. Monroe made 322 in his career, 63 more than where Wood sits. With at least 19 games left, Wood would need at to average 3.3 threes a contest during that span to match Monroe. Thus far this year Wood is averaging 2.6 threes a game.

Howell fouls out

Senior center Richard Howell was one of the few NC State players that did not have much fun Saturday. Howell fouled out in just 12 minutes and was held scoreless, going 0 of 4 from the field. He grabbed five rebounds, and his streak of consecutive games with a double-double was snapped at four.

Howell has fouled out of three games this season, and Saturday was the 10th disqualification of his career. He had not been held scoreless in a game since Jan. 25, 2011, during his sophomore season, against Clemson.

Free throw shooting woes

NC State came into Saturday tied with Clemson for the worst free throw shooting percentage in the ACC at 64.7 percent. They will end Saturday as the worst free throw shooting team in the league after going just 22 of 35 at the line against the Bonnies, or 62.9 percent. That dropped State's percentage for the season to 64.4 percent.

Among those that have really struggled at the line have been freshmen Rodney Purvis, a guard, and T.J. Warren, a forward. Purvis went 0 of 2 Saturday, dropping him to just 14 of 27 at the line for 51.9 percent.

Purvis did make a three-pointer to snap his streak of 11 missed threes in a row dating back to the Oklahoma State contest in Puerto Rico Nov. 17. Overall Purvis went 1 of 5 from long range, making him just 1 of his last 14.

Warren went 1 for 4 at the line Saturday, and he is just 13 of 29 on the year for 44.8 percent. That stat is amazing considering Warren improved his overall season shooting percentage to 68.1 percent by going 6 of 9 from the field for 13 points.

What the win means

NC State improves to 9-2 after winning its fifth consecutive game, the longest winning streak for the Pack since they won six in a row last season from Dec. 18, 2011 to Jan. 8, 2012. St. Bonaventure fell to 7-4 with the defeat.

NC State has also now won seven straight games at home.

The Pack improved to 2-1 all-time against the Bonnies and 56-18 against teams from the Atlantic 10 Conference. Earlier this season State routed the A-10's UMass 94-76.

Other stats of note

- NC State was outrebounded 38-35 overall and 13-7 on the offensive glass. St. Bonaventure also had a decisive 17-8 edge in second chance points.

- The Wolfpack dominated in the paint, outscoring the Bonnies 50-24. State was also much better in transition, owning a 24-8 edge in fast break points.

- NCSU won the turnover margin 14-12 and had a 21-14 advantage in points off turnovers.

- St. Bonaventure's bench outscored State's reserves 44-20.



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