A put-back basket at the buzzer from freshman Cody Martin gave NC State the lead by one point at halftime in a see-saw first half that featured 19 lead changes. The Spiders had three players finish in double-figures scoring and shot 72 percent (18-25) from the floor prior to intermission.
“I just tried to take advantage of the switches,” Lacey said. “When we screen with our bigs, they switched their bigs off on our guards. I tried to make the best play. We needed those. We weren’t getting a lot of stops in the first half. They were making a lot of their shots. You have got to give them credit.”
Richmond continued to trade baskets with the Wolfpack midway in the second half. With 9:20 remaining, the Spiders held a one-point advantage.
Sophomore Kyle Washington then pulled down an offensive rebound of a Turner miss and scored. NC State would never trail again.
The Pack closed out the game on a 22-9 run and held Richmond to 30 percent from the floor (10-33) in the second half.
NC State was also buoyed by terrific free throw shooting. After faltering late from the charity stripe against South Florida on Sunday, the Wolfpack connected on 18-of-22 shots from the line—including 13-of-16 in the second half. State made its last ten free throws over the final 1:46 of the contest.
“[We] were getting stops and limiting them to one shot,” Turner said of the late run to seal the victory. “We were able to execute our offense down the stretch and either get fouled or make the bucket.”
The Wolfpack returns to action immediately after Thanksgiving on Friday when Boise State visits Raleigh. Gottfried feels the two games over three days will provide a good simulation of what NC State could expect should the team advance to the NCAA Tournament for a fourth straight season.
“I think Richmond could be an NCAA Tournament team,” Gottfried said. “And, Boise [State], I think they won 24 last year. They have most everybody back. It is an older team; a veteran team. This is the kind of games we want to play. They’re not games where you can roll the ball out there and expect to win. We were challenged and we are going to see that again on Friday.”