The victory improved N.C. State to 58-4 in season openers since joining the ACC in 1953. The Pack has not dropped its first game in a campaign since 1993.
The Wolfpack jumped out to an early double-digit lead when Caleb Martin hit a jumper with 12:44 remaining in the half. N.C. State continued to increase its advantage throughout the half. A free throw by Lacey increased the Pack’s lead to 20 with less than six minutes to go before the break. Jackson State would not cut the deficit to less than 20 points for the remainder of the game.
The Tigers were held to 28.1 percent shooting from the floor (18-for-64), the lowest by an opponent since Northwestern shoot 25 percent versus the Pack last season.
“The thing that stands out to me more than anything is [that] our defensive ball pressure was pretty good,” N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried said. “Our energy defensively was pretty good and I thought it generated our offense. That set the tone for us most of the game.”
Barber finished with a career-best 25 points on 7-for-13 shooting (3-for-5 from three-point range) along with six assists, six rebounds and two turnovers. He did not commit a turnover in 29 minutes of action.
Lacey added 22 points, one short of his career-high set while at Alabama. The transfer was 8-for-10 from the floor in his debut with N.C. State and also finished 3-for-5 from behind the three-point arc in just 23 minutes of action.
“Obviously, I thought Trevor and Cat really got a lot of things going offensively,” N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried said. “They both played well. They kind of feed off one-another, penetrate and pitch. Those guys are point guards at heart.
N.C. State played 15 players during the game, with 12 scoring. While that may not be common as the season progresses, team depth could prove to be an asset for Wolfpack.
“I was happy about the team win, everyone did well as a team,” sophomore forward Kyle Washington said. “Everybody is starting to get a feel. Everybody in Raleigh and everybody in the ACC is going to see that we are going to be really deep this year. Deep teams get deep into the tournament in March.”
The Wolfpack return to action on Monday at home against Hofstra in what will be a hectic early season schedule. N.C. State was picked to finish ninth in the conference and Barber feels that, while the win over Jackson State was just the first game in a long haul, the Pack have something to prove in 2014-15.
“I think people are sleeping on us,” Barber said. “It doesn’t matter. It is just politics. People are going [things] about this person or that team. Once you are winning, it is a different thing.”