Led by Cat Barber with 21 points and six assists, the Wolfpack pulled away after intermission and defeated Cal State-Los Angeles, 71-54 at PNC Arena Sunday. NC State will open its season Friday at home versus William & Mary.
“Overall, I thought for our team it was good,” NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. “We got out in front of everybody and had some jitters a little bit but we settled down and it ended up being a pretty good day for us.”
Barber was 8-of-14 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from three-point range. With the ability of players like Terry Henderson and Cody Martin among others, Barber feels in certain situations he can flare out to the wings in fast break situations.
“Cody can dribble the ball and play at the 1 sometimes,” Barber said. “He will get it or Terry will get it. It is just a thing that we have practiced where they get to run the 1 and I find the spot.”
Abdul-Malik Abu finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocks in the contest. The rising sophomore played particularly well in the first half.
“It is interesting. Malik had 17 points and nine rebounds but I would say he just played okay.” NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. “I think he could play a lot better. He is such an athletic and aggressive guy. I think he could put pressure on a defense.
“He got better last year as the year went along and I think he is going to get better this year.”
NC State opened up a 15-point advantage in the first half but looked sluggish at various points. Cal-State Los Angeles trimmed the lead to nine points at intermission when Andre McPhail completed an old-fashioned three point play with 1.3 seconds left in the half.
“They are not a bad team,” Gottfried said. “We have scheduled good teams.”
NC State used a 12-0 run over a five-minute span in the second half to pull away.
“You get to a point where--we are like every team--you are tired of looking at each other,” Gottfried said. “We have guarded each other a bunch. It is nice to see someone else.”
With the season opener fast approaching, NC State is starting to round into shape for the marathon. The Wolfpack have several pieces and Abu thinks they can be interchangeable at times.
“Whatever it takes to win,” Abu said. “You can put me at point guard. I just do what I can for the team. I feel like we are on the right track.”