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Anya Blocks, Buckets' Buckets, Vandy Slams Push Pack Past Pirates

T.J. "#TonyBuckets" Warren poured in 32 points, but it was BeeJay Anya's blocksplosion that turned the tide.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Box Score

Four Factors NCSU ECU
eFG% 63.4 55.6
Turnover Rate 11.3
Off Reb Rate 27.8 24.2
FT Rate 14.9 14.3

79 70.5 112.0 127.6
NCSU 90 70.5 127.6 112.0

East Carolina came to Raleigh scoring 85 points a game, good for 18th nationally, and appeared well on its way to that many or more in the early going. Paris Roberts-Campbell drained a three to put the Pirates up 38-30 at the 6:13 mark of the first half, but freshman BeeJay Anya came off the bench to energize his teammates and the PNC crowd, nearly singlehandedly shutting down the Pirates while the Pack closed the half on a 15-0 run. Anya had all five of his blocked shots during the run that gave N.C. State command of a game it would go on to win 90-79.

Before Anya's block party slowed the Pirates' plundering, T.J. Warren kept his team in the game by scoring 17 of the Pack's first 25 points. The ACC's leading scorer beat his season average (23.1) in the first half, scoring 25 in the first 20 minutes, or four more than Virginia's entire team managed in the first half of its Saturday game against Northern Iowa.  Warren finished with 32 points and a game-high eight rebounds.

It was the Jordan Vandenberg show in the second half. The awesome Aussie scored 16 of his career-high 18 points after intermission, thundering in seven dunks, a layup, and an Abdul-Jabbar-esque sky hook en route to a 9-for-10 day from the field. Anthony Barber, who, if you haven't heard, is nicknamed Cat due to his cat-like quickness, also enjoyed a career high with eight assists (to just one turnover) and added 16 points. Ralston Turner was the fourth Pack player in double figures with 11 points; he made three of four tries from three and is shooting an impressive 66.7% from deep over his last three games.

Akeem Richmond, the NCAA leader in three pointers made so far this season, led the Pirates (10-3) with 23 points. Richmond's club lost for the first time since December 1st; N.C. State (9-2) won its seventh straight ahead of next Saturday's matchup with #23 Missouri.

If there was a blemish for the Pack besides the porous start defensively, it was their continued defensive and offensive liability at the free throw line. East Carolina was a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe; the Pack was just 5-for-10.

Comparing like opponents is nearly always a fool's errand, but, for what it's worth, Duke scored 83 against ECU and won by nine. The Pack put up 90 points and won by 11. I don't know if we're better than Duke, but I'm convinced that this team is exceeding expectations already while getting better every night out. That was a really fun game to watch today and it sucks to have to wait a whole week for another one.