NC State came out misfiring in the first half but turned it on after intermission. The Pack shot a sizzling 70.8 percent (17-24) from the floor and scored 47 points during the final 20 minutes of action.
The Wolfpack hit only 9-of-23 shots and had nine turnovers to just three assists in the first half.
“I thought as the game progressed we got better,” NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. “We started really slow and turned the ball over number of times. We seemed to be out-of-sorts offensively. Then I thought we settled in.”
Redshirt junior Trevor Lacey and sophomore Cat Barber each finished in double figures scoring with 15 and 14 points respectively. Codi Miller-McIntyre led Wake Forest (4-5, 0-1 in ACC) with 22 points on 9-for-18 shooting from the floor.
It was Turner’s scoring spree however that changed the game.
The Wolfpack had a three-point advantage when he scored his first basket of the second half. NC State led by 12 when he hit his final-three-pointer of the game with 8:52 remaining. The Demon Deacons never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
“Give credit to the other guys too,” Turner said. “In the first half, a lot of guys on our team did a good job of keeping us afloat. Early in the game we struggled. In the second half I think we just did a better job of running our offense.”
The win marks the third time in Gottfried’s four years at NC State that the Wolfpack opened conference play with a victory.
“This is kind of weird with us playing a conference game so early,” Turner said. “We talked about wanting to get off to a good start and win this game especially at home.”
NC State shot a pedestrian 66.7 percent from the free throw line but Wake Forest fared worse, going 53.3 percent (16-30) from the charity stripe. The Wolfpack knocked down nine free throws in the 87 seconds—led by Barber sinking all four of his attempts—to seal the victory.
“I had been missing a couple of free throws lately,” Barber said. “That is not in me. Coach knows that is not in me. I know I am a great free throw shooter and the coaches know. I don’t let those misses affect me.”
With finals coming up, NC State will not return to action until Friday when the Wolfpack hosts Charleston Southern at Reynolds Coliseum. Gottfried is eager to see what his team can become after the holiday break.
“We are a team that is still learning a lot,” Gottfried said. “We are a work in progress. We are nowhere near where I think we can be but it is nice to get an ACC win here.