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Penguins scare Wolfpack, then fall

Friday, December 17, 2010


Photo by: AP Photo/TheNews & Observer



North Carolina State's C.J. Leslie (5) pulls down an offensive rebound surrounded by three Youngstown State players during first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010, at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/TheNews & Observer, Michael McLoone)

N.C. State 67 - YSU 50

Next: YSU at Kent State, Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Associated Press


North Carolina State couldn’t seem to get started until C.J. Leslie could. Once he did, the Wolfpack turned what looked like a blowout loss into a blowout win.

Leslie, a freshman, had 14 points and a season-high 19 rebounds in the Wolfpack’s 67-50 victory over Youngstown State on Thursday night.

Fellow freshman Ryan Harrow added 14 points and Javi Gonzalez scored 11 for the Wolfpack (6-3).

They trailed by 18 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half but outscored the Penguins 46-16 in the second half in winning their second straight game.

“We were down, and it’s my job to bring the energy for our team,” Leslie said. “That’s what I did. I realized that everybody came out in a slump, so I had to bring them out, pick up the pace and everything.”

Harrow said, “We came in here thinking that we’re playing Youngstown, and we just let up in the first half.

“But then in the second half, we stepped our defense up, and we stepped our execution up, definitely.”

Vytas Sulskis had 14 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 1:04 left, and Devonte Maymon added 10 points for Youngstown State (5-5).

The Penguins were held to 22 percent shooting in the second half and scored just five points in the final 9 minutes in falling to 0-4 all-time against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.

“You’re not going to shoot 22 percent in the second half and come into a building like this and beat a talented team like they are,” Penguins coach Jerry Slocum said. “I thought we had enough opportunities to make it a much closer game.

“It’s disappointing, but the difference [in score] doesn’t tell the story of the game at all.”

The biggest key — both figuratively and literally — was Leslie, who at 6-foot-8 was taller than anyone in the Penguins’ rotation. After going scoreless in the first 16 minutes as N.C. State fell behind by double figures, Leslie single-handedly keyed the run late in the first half, scoring nine consecutive points — including everything in an 8-0 run that helped the Wolfpack get back in the game.

“It was very important that we got that stretch, because that carried on to the second half,” Leslie said.

“I felt like that first 5 minutes of the second half, we really picked it up, really turned on the energy and that led to a big game.”

Indeed, N.C. State came out after halftime with a 20-6 run while holding the Penguins to one field goal in the first 8 minutes of the half.

Harrow’s free throw with 10:06 left gave the Wolfpack their first lead, 40-39.

Dan Boudler’s layup put Youngstown State up 45-42 with 9:08 remaining, but the Penguins managed just two field goals the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, N.C. State pulled away with a late 25-5 run.