NC State falls to Cincy, 68-57
Posted November 12, 2013
FINAL: Cincinnati 68, NC State 57: NC State scored just 22 points in the second half and lost to Cincinnati Tuesday night, 68-57.
NC State was just 12-for-21 from the free throw line and made just 19 FGs in the game. They were led in scoring by TJ Warren and Ralston Turner who each finished with 13 points.
HALF: NC State 35, Cincy 35: Desmond Lee and TJ Warren each have eight points at halftime as the Wolfpack and Cincinnati are even at 35.
Tyler Lewis has chipped in seven points and Ralston Turner has six points while Anthony Barber has contributed five off the bench for NC State.
Cincy's Sean Kilpatrick has hit a pair of three-pointers and leads all scorers with 10 points.
After downing Appalachian State in their season opener, the North Carolina State Wolfpack will travel northwest on Tuesday for a 5 p.m. (ESPN, Mix 101.5 FM) showdown with Big East foe Cincinnati at Fifth Third Arena.
The Wolfpack handled the Mountaineers 98-77 on Friday thanks to a 27-point effort from sophomore forward T.J. Warren. The Wolfpack did not seem to miss a beat from last season, when they led the ACC in scoring (77.4 ppg) and field-goal percentage (.496), even though contributors like C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown moved on in the offseason.
The loss of interior personnel could be more pronounced on Tuesday against the Bearcats. Though both of these teams hail from major conferences, they have never battled it out on the hardwood.
Head coach Mark Gottfried has instilled a culture of offensive efficiency at NC State and that continued in the season opener. The Wolfpack connected on 61.9 percent of their shots, including a solid 5-of-11 from beyond the arc.
Warren was the major contributor, as he dropped in a career-high in points on 13-of-20 shooting. Warren is the only double-figure scorer from last year's team that is still on the roster and his offensive prowess will be needed as the Wolfpack try to find an identity.
Another promising effort for the Wolfpack in the win came from Desmond Lee, who scored 24 points. Lee is a junior college transfer who was a big time scorer at New Mexico Junior College. Tyler Lewis (15 points, six assists) also performed well as he moved into the starting point guard role to replace Brown.
Cincinnati is in the midst of a season-long homestand, as it plays the first six games of the year at Fifth Third Arena. The first of the campaign came against another team from the Tar Heel State, as the Bearcats posted a 74-61 victory over North Carolina Central.
The Bearcats could have had a much larger margin of victory, but inconsistent shooting plagued them down the stretch, though Sean Kilpatrick was effective as he poured in a team-high 22 points. Cincinnati is trying to push its streak of NCAA Tournament appearances to four this year.
Even without backcourt partners Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker, who both graduated, Kilpatrick was still able to play at an exceptional level against NC Central.
Kilpatrick knocked down 6-of-13 field goal attempts and also got himself to the line (8-of-9) often as he began the year on a high note. Kilpatrick also displayed his versatility by pulling down seven rebounds and handing out seven assists.
Titus Rubles (13 points, eight rebounds) proved that he could handle being the main threat in the post, though his shot was a bit errant (3-of-7). Errant shots were a theme all last year for the Bearcats, as the team shot at just 40.3 percent from the floor. Those struggles didn't look to be fixed with the roster turnover, as the Bearcats hit just 39.3 percent of their shots against NC Central.
Warren and Lewis performed so well in the opener that it looks like the Wolfpack may be able to deal with the loss of Leslie and Brown. However, Kilpatrick is a difficult guard to slow down due to his size and tenacity.