North Carolina State's Cody Martin, left, fights Winthrop's Xavier Cooks (12) for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Raleigh, N.C. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)
AP Photo
November 27, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Anthony ''Cat'' Barber has never scored like this for North Carolina State. The Wolfpack needed every one of those points, because Winthrop's Jimmy Gavin put on quite a show.

Barber scored a career-high 37 points and N.C. State beat Winthrop 87-79 on Friday night despite 38 points from Gavin.

Freshman Maverick Rowan added a season-best 17 points and Caleb Martin had 11 for the Wolfpack (4-2). They shot 47 percent and pulled away down the stretch for their second-straight win.

Barber was 19 of 22 from the free-throw line in surpassing his previous high of 34 points set against Pittsburgh last March.

''It was just one of those nights where I was determined to get to the rim, no matter who was guarding me,'' Barber said.

He scored 10 points in the final 3 1/2 minutes to give the Wolfpack just enough of a cushion against the Eagles, who never got closer than four points in the final few minutes.

Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey called Gavin ''fearless'' after he finished with the highest point total of his brief Division I career on 10 of 15 shooting with seven 3-pointers for the Eagles (4-1).

''We're going to play a lot of good players ... (but) I've got a hard time thinking we're going to play against anybody as offensively dangerous as Jimmy Gavin,'' N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said.

Keon Johnson's free throw with 53.2 seconds left made it 83-79. Barber followed with two free throws, Johnson missed a jumper with 30 seconds to play, and Barber hit two more foul shots with 25.1 seconds left that effectively iced it.

Lennard Freeman had 10 rebounds for N.C. State, which was coming off a victory over LSU in the third-place game at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, New York.

Johnson finished with 15 points while Xavier Cooks and Bjorn Broman each had 10 for Winthrop, which was denied its second win over an Atlantic Coast Conference team in two years.

And before Barber got hot down the stretch, the building was buzzing about Gavin.

The 23-year-old graduate transfer, who spent the past two seasons at Division II Wisconsin-Parkside, put on a show by single-handedly keeping Winthrop in position for the upset.

He hit his first four shots of the half, including 3s on back-to-back possessions that gave the Eagles their largest lead. Joshua Davenport flipped the ball back to Gavin as the trailer, and he buried his sixth 3 of the night to put Winthrop up 55-51 with 15 minutes left.

Then, after the Eagles fell behind by 12, he reeled off a personal 8-0 run that made it 70-66 with 6 1/2 minutes to play.

He said his journey was ''a little untraditional'' but that ''with the struggles I faced ... it took away my fear. I faced everything that defeated me, and I came back.''

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TIP-INS:

Winthrop: Kelsey is no stranger to the Wolfpack. Kelsey spent eight seasons on Wake Forest's staff under former coaches Skip Prosser and Dino Gaudio and was on the bench for the Demon Deacons' last win in Raleigh in 2005.

N.C. State: BeeJay Anya moved into second place among the school's career leaders in blocked shots. Anya, with four blocks Friday, moved past Kevin Thompson, who had 150 from 1989-93.

STAR WATCH:

Gavin finished with the third-highest-scoring performance in the history of PNC Arena - behind only T.J. Warren (42 in 2014) and Stephen Curry (40 in the 2008 NCAA Tournament). No opponent had ever scored that many points against the Wolfpack in this building.

QUOTABLE:

''His name Jimmy Chitwood?'' - Gottfried, opening his postgame news conference by comparing Gavin to the never-miss shooter in the movie ''Hoosiers.''

UP NEXT:

Winthrop is at Charleston Southern on Dec. 2.

N.C. State plays host to Michigan on Dec. 1.

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Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

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