"That is a good basketball team we beat today," NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. "They are quick, they are hard to guard. In the first 12 minutes of the game, they were phenomenal. We had all kinds of trouble guarding them. They were making shots. Akeem Richmond could play anywhere with the way he shoots the ball. I think our guys beat a good team today. I watched the tape where East Carolina played Duke. They went toe-to-toe with them in Cameron and toe-to-toe with us here. I think they are going to have a heck of a year. We feel good about beating them because I think we beat a good basketball team."
Jordan Vandenberg added a career-high 18 points, 16 of which came in the second half, on 9-of-10 shooting to go along with five rebounds and three blocks. Anthony 'Cat' Barber added a career-high eight assists against just one turnover to compliment his 16 points on the day, while Ralston Turner added 11 points off the bench, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
The Wolfpack was able to withstand three separate East Carolina runs over the course of the second half before ending the game with an 8-2 spurt over the final 2:36 to seal the victory. The Pirates pulled within one point three different times, but each time the Wolfpack answered with a run of its own. Vandenberg scored 10 of his 18 points over the game's final nine minutes with Barber and Turner adding a combined 13 over the deciding stretch as State improved to 20-1 all-time versus ECU, including 20-0 at home. After trailing for much of the first half, the Wolfpack closed the period with a 15-0 run over the final 6:13 to take a 45-38 lead at intermission. With ECU holding a 28-19 lead, BeeJay Anya entered the game at the 10:12 juncture of the half, from which ECU scored just 10 points the rest of the way.
Anya dominated the Pirates down low on the defensive end, totaling five blocks that also fueled State on the offensive end. The five blocks equal Anya's career-high set in the Wolfpack's previous game, a 65-58 victory at Tennessee.
Akeem Richmond scored 23 points for East Carolina (10-3) to lead the Pirates on the day.
NC State (9-2) has a week off before returning to the hardwood on Dec. 28 versus No. 23/25 Missouri. Tip-off at PNC Arena is set for 8 p.m. with ESPN2 to carry the broadcast.