NC State defeats Wake Forest 78-65 in ACC opener
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Ralston Turner didn't have much of a first half for N.C. State on Saturday night, but he certainly made up for it in the second.
The senior guard poured in 21 points, including seven during a decisive run to start the second half, as the Wolfpack eased past Wake Forest 78-65 on Saturday night in the ACC opener for both schools.
Trevor Lacey added 15 points for the Wolfpack (7-1), which has won eight straight home games including seven this season, and Cat Barber chipped in 14.
''As the game progressed we got better,'' said State coach Mark Gottfried, who is 5-2 against the Deacons. ''We started really slow. But we finished out the first half pretty well, and in the second half our energy was better. We executed our offense and got good shots.
''Ralston is a guy that - I've got great confidence in him. He started slow and missed some shots. But I just feel like if he stays with it - we say sometimes, miss them early and make them late - and he's going to make them if he gets good looks.''
Wake Forest's Codi Miller-McIntyre led all scorers with 22 points in the ACC debut game for coach Danny Manning. Devin Thomas added 10 points for the Deacons (4-5) before fouling out with 1:05 left, and Mitchell Wilbekin also scored 10.
''It was a tale of two halves,'' Manning said. ''In the second half they had their way with us as far as shooting the ball. They're a pretty talented team.
''We just needed to not let Turner shoot. That's it. Guard him.''
The Wolfpack got its working margin over the first 4:09 of the second half, going on an 11-0 run including seven points from Turner to build a 42-28 advantage and force a Deacon timeout.
''I felt like in the first half sometimes I was a little passive,'' Turner said. ''Coach always says when you get a good shot take it, and in the second half I just took them.
''I've got good guys around me and they're confident with me. My role is to shoot the ball, and it doesn't matter if I'm missing if it's a good shot I need to take it,'' he said.
State shot 55 percent to the Deacons' 39 and won the rebound battle 39-31, with the Wolfpack's Lennard Freeman pulling down 11. The Wolfpack committed 15 turnovers to Wake's 11.
''You have to look for Ralston because when he's hot, he's hot,'' Barber said. ''You have to find ways to get the ball to him. I think we played pretty well. There were times when the game got close, but we play well at home so we just played it out and came away with the win.''
Wake's closest approach in the last nine minutes was seven points, at 60-53 on a Miller-McIntyre layup at 4:42.
State center BeeJay Anya committed two fouls in the game's first 3:14 and sat the rest of the half. Anya picked up two more fouls in the first 4:29 of the second, and later fouled out as did teammate Desmond Lee.
Wake Forest: The Deacons' last win in Raleigh was in the regular-season finale in 2005, when Chris Paul had the winning layup at the buzzer in a 55-53 decision. Paul had punched State post Julius Hodge in the groin during the game and was suspended for the first round of the ACC Tournament. ... The last time Wake had played a conference game before Dec. 7 was in 1998.
N.C. State: The contest was the Wolfpack's first December conference game in five years. ... State leads the series, which was for Wake county bragging rights in the old days before WFU moved from Wake Forest to Winston-Salem in 1956, 139-101.
Trevor Lacey, the junior transfer from Alabama, has been consistently solid for the Wolfpack ever since joining the team. He has scored double figures in every game except for the 79-43 rout of Jacksonville, and is averaging 16.8 per game. On Saturday he had six assists to three turnovers with one steal.
ON THE RISE
Freshman wing Caleb Martin continues his hot start for the Wolfpack, scoring nine points with four rebounds in just 16 minutes against Wake. He's averaging 6.4 points off the bench in an average of 8.9 minutes and has hit eight of 23 3-pointers.
Wake Forest hosts Samford on Dec. 14.
N.C. State hosts Charleston Southern on Friday.