Jericole Hellems and the NC State offense showed up in a big way this afternoon, and good thing, too, because Louisiana Tech was pretty darn good as well. You could call it a duel of sorts between Hellems, who scored a career-high 31 points, and Kenneth Lofton Jr., who had 36 for the Bulldogs.
Pace and Efficiency
Despite Lofton’s efforts, State did a nice job of controlling this one for the majority—Louisiana Tech scored the first bucket of the day but that would amount to its largest and only lead. The Wolfpack pulled ahead by as many as 15 in the first half, and while the Bulldogs managed some runs here and there to stay within striking distance, they couldn’t get enough stops to give State a serious moment of pause.
Tech got to within six with less than 10 minutes remaining but no closer, and Casey Morsell delivered some key jumpers down the stretch to keep the Pack out of trouble.
NC State got beat up pretty good on the glass but was able to compensate by shooting the ball better overall—especially from outside—and finishing +8 in turnover margin.
Hellems finished 6-8 from three and the team shot 11-23 from beyond the arc in addition to making more than half its two-point attempts and going 15-19 at the free throw line. That kind of shooting efficiency combined with just six turnovers is going to make for a good performance, and State averaged a really good 1.3 points per possession.
Defensively, State had no answers for Lofton, who was 14-19 from the field and also hauled in 18 rebounds—half of them at the offensive end. It was an incredible effort on his part, but he couldn’t do it by himself, and the Bulldogs had just one other guy hit double-figures.
NC State is back at it on Wednesday against Nebraska.