by Sean Donohue
However, the thinly spread out 15,450 fans show little support.
Starting senior point guard Javi Gonzalez has a bit of competition this year with ballhandling expert Ryan Harrow on his heels. Gonzalez is eager to have a winning season and sees having the freshman as nothing but a positive addition. He went on to say "To me, I don't see it as a problem. The times we are on the court together, only means our team will be better." The flow of the two stars together should be interesting as they open up the season against the Golden Eagles.
State gets off to a decent start with its82-69 win.
State gets the tipoff and Scott Wood starts off early with a nice swish for two. It becomes obvious that the Wolfpack needs to work on its 3-point shooting, however, as they squander opportunity after opportunity sloppily given by the Golden Eagles.
With 10:16 left in the first quarter, NC State trails 14-11. The Golden Eagles are giving a bit more of a fight than the Wolfpack bargained for. With multiple team fouls by Tennessee Tech, its easy to see the Golden Eagles are aggressive and on the attack. State barely pulls ahead after the first half 37-34.
Freshman C.J. Leslie leads the Pack with 16 points on the board with 15:38 left in the 2nd half. Still in a surprisingly close game, State gains a much needed energy boost from halftime and tries to put a wedge between their score and Tech's. But the Golden Eagles are able to stay within 10 points.
Its safe to say that most State fans tonight were expecting a blowout but have ended up with a struggle to keep a lead.
Gonzalez, acting as the primary play-maker, only scores four points in the game. He may not be the biggest point scorer, but he has gained momentum and is beginning to work the ball efficiently around the wings. Finally gaining some ground, the Wolfpack leads 71-57 with 5:33 left. Leslie finishes with 21 points.
They said it…
Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe: “They played really hard. I don't think we came out quite as hard, plain and simple. Certainly we have things to work, especially rebounding. C.J. Leslie's energy was unbelievable. He set the tone for the game when he came in. He can change the game and make plays that aren't even there. He's long, he's fast, and what I like is he's not fancy about it. I think (our freshmen) did great. They played with poise and it showed.”
What does it all mean?
State's sloppy shooting and poor ability on defense mean this team may be in for more rough of a season than expected.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Leslie's dunk with 9:56 left in the game.
N.C. State vs. East Carolina, Thursday, 6 p.m. (Charleston, S.C.)
Tennessee Tech at East Tennessee, Nov. 20, 4 p.m.