Atlanta, Ga —North Carolina State came out the gate with their guns blazing. They fed Terquavion Smith early and often in the half.
Smith scored 18 of his 26 points in the first half and North Carolina State beat Georgia Tech 76-61 on Tuesday night inside McCamish Pavilion. Twenty minutes were highlighted by two monster dunks in the open court.
Smith entered the game with an ACC-best 73 three-pointers and made six more on Tuesday. He is now two three-pointers away from tying for the most by a freshman in program history (Maverick Rowan – 81 in 2015-16).
“He was great,” NCST coach Kevin Keatts said. “This kid is playing far beyond a freshman. He was poised. He came out hot and kept us going. His energy was infectious and it got passed on to the next guy.”
NCST jumped out to a 10-0 lead three minutes into the game. Georgia Tech scored on its next possession to get within eight points but that is the closest that Yellow Jackets would get the rest of the contest.
The WolfPack led 14-4 at the 14:31 mark of the first half and went on another 14-4 run to take a 28-8 lead with 10:16 left in the half.
The Yellow Jackets would make a run to get within 14 at 30-16, but an 11-2 run gave NCST a 23-point lead, 41-18, with 4:15 to go to the break.
NC State shot 59.4 percent in the first half and hit eight long treys to take a 51-25 lead into the break. Smith shot 6 of 8 from the floor and made four 3-pointers in the first half. The Wolfpack shot 59% on 19-of-32 shooting and 8 of 14 from long range.
The Pack’s 51 points were the most in a half for North Carolina State this season.
Jericole Hellems poured in 15 points for N.C. State (11-16, 4-12 Atlantic Coast Conference), which ended a six-game losing skid. Cam Hayes had 14 points off the bench, and Dereon Seabron chipped in 11 with 10 boards. Smith had six of the Wolfpack’s 11 3-pointers.
Smith kept his foot on the gas and hit a pair of 3s and Casey Morsell had a layup to open the second half to stretch the led to 30 points. The Wolfpack finished 42% (26 of 62) shooting overall.
Michael Devoe had 18 points to lead Georgia Tech (10-15, 3-11). Rodney Howard chipped in 14 points and Kyle Sturdivant 10.
Georgia Tech would get within 14 with less than 90 seconds remaining in the game, but never seriously threated NC State in the final 20 minutes.
“I thought the first half was beautiful basketball,” Keatts said. “It was the first half where I felt like we played really, really good on both ends of the floor. I thought we shared the ball, we made shots and we did a great job of defending.”
Post Game Stats:
- Tech surrendered its highest point total in any half this season to NC State, 51 points in the first half, which surpassed the 48 in the second half to North Carolina on Dec. 5.
- After NC State shot 59.4 percent in the first half, Tech held the Wolfpack to 23.3 percent after the break and 41.9 percent for the game.
- Tech returned to its frequently used starting lineup this season (13th time). Tech has utilized eight different starting lineups this season.
Georgia Tech hits the road for games at Pittsburgh on Saturday and Syracuse on Monday.
NC State has a bye this weekend and will return to action Wednesday, Feb. 23 when it hosts Boston College at PNC Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on Regional Sports Networks.