Pack Routs Wildcats, 69-48

RALEIGH, N.C. - Led by sophomore forward T.J. Warren's game-high 22 points, the NC State men's basketball team defeated the Northwestern Wildcats by the score of 69-48 on Wednesday night at PNC Arena in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Warren, the nation's 17th leading scorer at 22.7 points per game, scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, topping the 20-point plateau for the fifth time this season.

Senior center Jordan Vandenberg continued his solid play, scoring 12 points to compliment a career-high five blocks on the night, while freshman forward Lennard Freeman notched career highs with 10 points and 10 rebounds, garnering the first double-double of his young NC State career.

Junior guard Ralston Turner added 13 points off the bench, tying his season-high.

"I really liked our defense tonight," NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. "I like the fact that our young players did a pretty good job paying attention. I liked the fact that there was carry over from practice to the game as far as our young guys learning how to defend. It was a pretty good game defensively for us. Offensively we knew we were going to see the 2-3 zone. We were good a penetrating the zone and getting the ball around the rim."

The Wolfpack dominated the game down low, scoring 36 points in the paint compared to just 10 for Northwestern. State scored 20 of its first 24 first half points in the paint, as Warren dominated with a variety of runners in the lane, layups and putbacks. Moreover, the Wolfpack had a season-low five turnovers while dishing out 16 assists, a more than 3:1 margin.

Warren reeled off eight straight points at the start of the game to fuel a 10-0 run as the Wolfpack jumped out to an early 12-6 lead. After a basket by Northwestern cut the margin in half, State put together a 10-2 spurt to push the advantage to 22-11 at the 4:17 juncture. The Wildcats closed within seven points, but a Turner three-pointer along with back-to-back buckets from Anthony 'Cat' Barber pushed the Wolfpack halftime lead to 31-20.

State opened the second half on an 11-1 run to take at 42-23 lead less than five minutes in. From there, the Pack maintained a working margin of no fewer than 15 points over the next ten minutes of play, pushing the lead to as much as 22 on three separate occasions.

Turner scored eight of his 13 points during the stretch to keep the Pack comfortably in front before a Tyler Lewis to Vandenberg alley-oop gave the Wolfpack a 23-point lead with less than three minutes to play. Lewis, who totaled a game-high seven assists on the night, dished out six in the second half.

Drew Crawford led Northwestern (4-5) with 17 points and nine rebounds.

NC State (5-2) will host Long Beach State this Saturday, Dec. 7 at PNC Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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