Louisiana Tech's Qiydar Davis (25) blocks the shot of North Carolina State's Cat Barber (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Ethan Hyman)
The News & Observer, Ethan Hyman
December 23, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Trevor Lacey didn't panic when so many of his layups and jumpers kept rimming out.

North Carolina State's top scorer kept shooting - and that helped the Wolfpack pull off a huge comeback.

Lacey scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half and N.C. State rallied from 18 down to beat Louisiana Tech 73-65 on Tuesday night.

''That's a character win,'' coach Mark Gottfried said. ''Character-building, and it's a sign of great character in a team. ... I'm not sure you could make a comeback like we did unless you have great character.''

Anthony ''Cat'' Barber added 17 points and Kyle Washington scored all 11 of his after halftime while adding 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack (10-3).

They outscored Louisiana Tech 49-25 in the second half and shot 50 percent in the second half, using runs of 18-2 and 16-5 to avoid a second straight nonconference loss.

Lacey, who averages an Atlantic Coast Conference-best 17.8 points, was just 5 of 18 from the field but three of those came at key times in the final 10 1/2 minutes.

''I've just got to stay with it,'' Lacey said. ''My teammates know I can make those. I could have gotten down on myself, and my teammates could have stopped passing me the ball. I just tried to stay with it, stick with the process.''

Alex Hamilton and Raheem Appleby scored 18 points apiece for the Bulldogs (8-4), who led for all but about 5 minutes of this one but managed just three field goals in the final 14 minutes.

For the second time in nine days, they took a close loss on an ACC team's floor. Syracuse beat them 71-69 on Dec. 15.

The Wolfpack needed that first big run to erase most of the huge deficit, then pulled away by making all the key plays down the stretch.

Barber hit a short jumper shot before Lacey converted a three-point play with 4:26 left that gave N.C. State its first lead at 62-60.

Freshman Abdul-Malik Abu followed with a dunk from a Barber feed to make it a four-point game with just under 4 minutes left.

Lacey, Abu and Barber combined to hit 5 of 6 free throws on N.C. State's next four possessions and the Wolfpack pulled away from there.

Abu finished with 10 points.

Kenneth Smith gave Louisiana Tech its largest lead when his 3 with just over 14 minutes left made it 50-32. The Bulldogs' next bucket didn't come for another 4 1/2 minutes.

That gave the Wolfpack plenty of time to get back into it.

''We knew there would be runs at certain points,'' Tech coach Michael White said. ''It's always like that on the road, especially against good teams.''

STAT LINE

Louisiana Tech has yet to outrebound an opponent this season, but the Bulldogs had a 19-16 advantage on the boards at halftime - a big reason for their 39-24 lead at the break. In the second half, N.C. State was plus-15 on the boards and finished with a 42-30 advantage. ''It's been a pretty singular focus for us,'' White said. ''I thought that was the key to the game.''

TIP-INS

Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs take an average of 20 3-pointers per game but put up just 12, making three. They fell to 64-10 under White when leading at the half.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack improved to 11-1 under Gottfried in their first game after a nonconference loss.

UP NEXT

Louisiana Tech plays host to Southern Arkansas on Dec. 29.

N.C. State is home against Cincinnati on Dec. 30.

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Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyap

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