On a special night in Reynolds Coliseum the Wolfpack gave the packed house a show in all facets of the game. NC State started off a little cold from the field, but picked it up on the defensive end of the floor to cause turnovers and get easy buckets in rout to a 100-67 win. It was Devon Daniels who was hot to start the game for the Pack, he scored 9 of the teams first 15 points and finished the game strong with 21 points shooting 8-12 from the field and 3-5 from deep.
The Catamounts hung around in the first half and even lead at one point early in the game. As the first half progressed the pressure started to get to Western Carolina as they began to turn the ball over. Live ball turnovers are things you can’t do this year if you want to be successful against the Pack as they were off and running. 33 turnovers won’t allow you to be successful in any game against anyone so the Catamounts dug themselves a deep hole that they just couldn’t get out of and it showed in the second half.
Not only did the Wolfpack force a plethora of turnovers but they also had some key players have career nights. Jericole Hellems and Blake Harris both had their best games of the season tonight as they combined for 31 points (16 and 15 respectively) on 10-14 shooting. Hellems has shown flashes of his ability to score the basketball, but Harris was a impressive on both sides of the ball as he locked down his defenders all night and was able to create his own shot and knock down a few from the outside. With both of these players showing their ability to score the ball and produce off the bench it adds another dimension to this team that makes them a bit deeper than expected.
The first 10 minutes of the second half proved to be the dagger to a struggling Western Carolina team. The Wolfpacks press and speed began to take its toll early in the half and allowed them to outscore the Catamounts 30-10 before the 10 minute mark. On those 33 turnovers that the Pack forced it turned them into 32 points helping boost their field goal percentage (53.6%) with the easy buckets.
The Pack has a break for exams over the next 10 days before it travels to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions on Sunday 12/15.