Freshman forward C.J. Leslie had a very good game and played with great energy, but he still took a a couple of questionable shots and Tracy Smith had as efficient an outing he's had all season.
The senior big man, who looked fresh after a week off, finished with 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting. He also totaled eight rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Smith's was too strong in the paint for Wake's young frontcourt, but he also made a couple of plays by running and finishing in transition.
Leslie was effective as well. Coming off a one-game suspension, the 6-foot-8 forward earned the starting nod and responded by scoring 19 and grabbing eight rebounds in 29 minutes of action.
State was able to physically dominate Wake Forest in the paint with Smith and Leslie leading the way.
PLAYER OF THE GAME - WAKE FOREST
Freshman forward Travis McKie has been one of the few bright spots for Wake Forest this season, and he was once again on Sunday.
McKie, who is undersized at the power forward position led the Deacs in scoring (15) and rebounding (7). He also played 36 of 40 minutes and knocked down two three-pointers.
He plays the game under control and has good composure for a freshman. McKie should be a good piece for the Deacs to build around in the future.
STAT OF THE GAME
55.9%. NC State has struggled shooting from the field during ACC play, but that wasn't the case Sunday afternoon in Winston-Salem.
The Pack scorched the nets, hitting 55.9% of its shots (33-59). A big reason for the Pack's success was the ability to generate easy baskets. State had 11 second-chance points and score 12 in transition. The Wolfpack was able to establish Smith and Leslie in the post. In fact, State's big men outscored Wake's 47-28 on the night.
Another key factor was the Wolfpack guards ability to penetrate the lane and find open teammates. Point guards Lorenzo Brown (7), Ryan Harrow (6), and Javi Gonzalez (3) totaled 16 assists with just six turnovers. The Pack finished the game with 22 assists on 33 made field goals and just ll turnovers.
That offensive efficiency led to a great shooting game for NC State.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Difficult to find a game-changing play in a 25-point win, so we'll go with a couple of highlight-reel plays that caught our attention.
Early in the second half C.J. Leslie rebounded a Tracy Smith missed shot and attempted a tough 10-12 foot jumper. Leslie's shot banged hard off the glass, but the 6-foot-8 bouncy forward leaped over two Wake defenders to dunk back his own miss... a big-time play that shows just how athletic Leslie is.
Also, the Wolfpack put on a passing display much of the second half with 6-foot-4 guard Lorenzo Brown leading the way. On one play, Brown took a bounce pass from Leslie at the top of the key and took two dribbles towards the basket before throwing a no-look pass to Tracy Smith, who was wide open on the play because his defender had left to guard Brown.
Smith finished with the dunk, and a lot of his plays came off nice passes from his teammates.
NC State (13-11, 3-7 ACC) now has a few days off before returning to the hardwood Thursday night at home against Clemson (17-8, 6-5 ACC).
The Tigers are coming off a tough, two-point home loss to North Carolina that went down to the wire.
NC State will be looking to avenge a disappointing loss at Clemson on January 25th. State led midway through the first half 31-12, but Clemson used a 16-0 run to cut into the lead. The Tigers held State to just 19 points over the game's final 26 minutes, pulling out the 60-50 victory.
Seniors Demontez Stitt and Jerai Grant led the way for Clemson, scoring 17 and 14 points respectively. Grant also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
Tip-off for NC State and Clemson is set for 7:00 on Thursday in Raleigh. The game will be televised on ESPN2.