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November 13, 2011
NC State's share the wealth philosophy led to 26 assists on 33 field goals during its 91-61 victory over Morehead State in front of 10,082 fans at the RBC Center.
Junior power forward Richard Howell continues to take advantage of his increased playing time and had 25 points and eight minutes in NC State's well-balanced victory. Junior center DeShawn Painter didn't miss a shot from the field or line and had 19 points in his first start of the season.
The Wolfpack shot an impressive 61.1 percent from the field and owned an 40-14 points in the paint advantage over the undersized Eagles to improve to 2-0 on the season. NCSU hosts Princeton on Wednesday.
"This is a great offense for this team, so we really can't complain," Painter said.
Gottfried has set the tone of being unselfish ever since he arrived in April.
"I don't think they care who gets the credit," NCSU coach Mark Gottfried said. "The inside guys pass the ball and willingly pass it. I thought in the first half that [sophomore point guard] Lorenzo [Brown] set the tone. That is two games in a row now, his poise against the pressure."
Brown finished with five points and six assists in 26 minutes, but left the game late in the second half with an ankle injury.
NC State put on a clinic on ball movement during the first half. The Wolfpack had 15 assists on 16 made field goals, and shot 66.7 percent from the field to build a 48-30 halftime lead.
"There was a lot of good things in the game and you always appreciate winning," Gottfried said. "What I liked tonight was how well we moved the ball and shared the ball. Both games our guys really shared it and moved it. Rarely are we taking a tough shot that is ill-advised or poor shot selection."
Junior wing Scott Wood exploded for five three-pointers, and he was fouled on another attempt, and made all three free throws for 18 first-half points. He went 5 of 6 from beyond the arc. Wood missed a pair of three-pointers in the second half and went scoreless, but the damage was already done.
"It was a good game and we did a real good job today of sharing the ball and getting everybody involved," Wood said. "We aren't worried about who makes the shot, just that we make it."
Wood's back-to-back three-pointers sparked a 20-7 run that helped NC State take a 35-17 lead. Wood's fifth three-pointer gave the Wolfpack their biggest lead of the half, 48-24.
Wood's outside shooting complemented the one-two inside punch of junior post players Howell and Painter. Howell had 14 points in 16 first-half minutes, while Painter added 11 points and four boards in the first half against the Eagles' zone defense.
"Richard played well and he was a monster down low," Wood said. "He'll have a lot of games like this to come.
"Any time you have some undersized guys down low, you want to punish them and take advantage. Sometimes when you think zone, you think, 'Oh, it's going to be a lot of threes. Today, we tried to focus on getting it inside."
Gottfried was proud of the progress being shown by Howell and Painter.
"[Painter] was really good in that mid-range area, and can really make that 15, 14-footer," Gottfried said. "He has rebounded well the last two games."
The duo made up the void while sophomore power forward C.J. Leslie served the second of a three-game suspension and freshman power forward Thomas De Thaey was held out as a precaution while his amateurism is looked into.
"We got two players not playing, so somebody else gets the opportunity to play, and they take advantage of it in a good way," Gottfried said.
NC State never let up in the second half, and Howell wasn't going to let them. He powered in for a big dunk and gave a pose afterwards to give NC State a commanding 67-35 lead with 12:40 left in the game. Fifth-year senior point guard Alex Johnson hit a three-pointer to stretch it to 84-48 with 3:27 remaining.
"I still think we are a long ways away, and that is no knock on Morehead or UNC Asheville," Gottfried said. "We are doing some things well, but I'm also realistic. Our competition is getting much greater. Our big guys are playing well around the basket, but we are a lot bigger than the teams we are playing against.
"We are playing the game the right way. We are passing it, defending pretty well and we have to get better in a lot of areas."
Terrance Hill had 14 points and shot 4 of 5 from three-point range for the Eagles.