NC State tops Northwestern, 69-48, in Big Ten/ACC Challenge
By AARON BEARD AP Basketball Writer December 4, 2013 9:50PM
RALEIGH, N.C. — T.J. Warren scored 22 points to help North Carolina State beat Northwestern 69-48 on Wednesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Ralston Turner added 13 points for the Wolfpack (5-2), who led nearly all night and by as many as 23 points after halftime. N.C. State shot 46 percent to win its third straight overall, while the win against Northwestern (4-5) stopped a five-game losing streak in the annual interconference matchup.
Warren had 16 points by the break and flirted with his third straight 30-point outing before cooling off after halftime. But he got plenty of help, led by freshman Lennard Freeman posting season-highs with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Drew Crawford scored 17 to lead the Wildcats and first-year coach Chris Collins, who was making a return to the region after spending the past 13 years as an assistant to Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in nearby Durham.
N.C. State’s last Challenge win came against Michigan in November 2006 under Sidney Lowe. The Wolfpack lost to Northwestern here in the Challenge in 2009, with four of the five straight Challenge losses coming by at least 11 points.
This time, the Wolfpack stayed in control all night to give Collins a frustrating return to the state.
His team shot poorly from the start and finished at 25 percent (13 for 52), including 6 for 22 from 3-point range.
In addition, referee Roger Ayers whistled Collins for a technical foul early in the second half after Crawford drove into the paint but didn’t get a whistle as Jordan Vandenberg blocked his shot.
Vandenberg followed Warren’s free throws on Collins’ technical with a hook shot to make it 39-22 with 17:34 left.
Northwestern got as close as 15 before the Wolfpack answered with six straight points, with Freeman scoring on a stickback and then on a transition dunk off a feed from fellow rookie Anthony “Cat” Barber to push the margin to 50-29 with 10:09 left.
Vandenberg, the 7-foot-1 fifth-year senior who made his season debut last week after a preseason ankle injury, turned in his second straight double-figure scoring performance with 12 points to go with five blocks.
Turner matched his season-high in scoring and hit three 3-pointers, while N.C. State dominated inside to take a 38-10 edge in points in the paint.