Senior center Jordan Vandenberg scored a career-high 14 points to go along with eight rebounds in his second game back from an ankle injury. Anthony 'Cat' Barber, making his second straight appearance in the starting lineup, added 12 points and five assists for the Wolfpack.
State closed the game on a 25-6 run, outscoring the Colonels 20-2 at one point, after EKU had pulled within two points midway through the second half. Warren and Vandenberg combined for 14 of the Wolfpack's points during the deciding run, with all of Vandenberg's points coming off rim-rattling dunks.
"First off I think this a good win for our team because that might potentially be an NCAA tournament team," NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. "They are a really good team with terrific guards. They go a really good job of changing defenses to keep teams off balance. I was really proud of our guys. This is a good win for our team against a good basketball team."
State exploded out of the gate following intermission, as Warren and Barber combined to reel off nine of the half's first 11 points to turn a 27-21 deficit into a 30-29 lead. From there, it was a back-and-forth affair as neither team held a lead larger than three points over the next 3:29 of game time.
EKU's Glenn Cosey hit a three-pointer to give the Colonels a 35-32 lead before State used a 12-0 run, spanning 3:45, to gain some breathing room. EKU battled back to pull within 51-49 at the 9:48 juncture, before State ended the game on the deciding 25-6 run.
The Wolfpack struggled early with the EKU zone, shooting just 32.1 percent in the first half, but improved upon that greatly in the second half, putting 65.6 percent of its shots through the hoop. The Wolfpack outscored the Colonels 44-24 on points in the paint, including a 30-14 advantage in the second half.
"I thought in the second half we attacked the zone much better," Gottfried said. "I thought that was the difference in the game. Defensively we are a little bit better. In the first half we struggled against the zone. We didn't move it nearly as well as we should have. We didn't get the ball inside or penetrate the zone very well. In the second half, the ball moved a lot better and we got inside the zone."
The Wolfpack continues its home stand against Northwestern on Wednesday, Dec. 4. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at PNC Arena and the game will be televised by ESPNU.