Denton, TX – The NC State men’s basketball team shot a season-best 58.8 percent from the field in defeating Davidson, 75-61, Thursday night inside of UNT Coliseum in the first round of the NIT.
D.J. Funderburk led the Pack with 21 points and seven rebounds while Manny Bates had 14 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting and a game-high eight rebounds. Junior forward Jericole Hellems also made it to double figures, recording 13 points.
Funderburk and Bates finished the game a combined 15-of-17 shooting from the field as the Pack dominated down low, outscoring Davidson, 38-26, in the paint.
NC State got off to a hot start and never looked back. Hellems tipped the ball away from Davidson and jammed the ball in off the opening tip, putting the Pack up 2-0 just a few seconds into the game. The Wildcats would tie the game at two on its first offensive possession, but that would be the last tie of the game as NC State scored the next seven points as part of 12-2 run to take a 14-4 lead less than five minutes into the game.
A jumper from Funderburk would extend the Pack’s lead to 25-11 with 9:15 left in the half and NC State would enjoy a double digit lead for most of the opening 20 minutes before Davidson scored the final five points of the half to cut the Pack’s advantage to 40-32 at the break.
NC State shot 66.7% from the field, the Pack’s best field goal percentage in the first half this season.
Davidson scored the first four points of the second half to extend its scoring run to 9-0 and cut its deficit to 40-36, but the Pack would score the next four points to go back up by eight and after a Davidson field goal cut the lead to six, NC State would go on a 7-0 run to take a 51-38 lead on a Bates hook shot with 12:54 to play.
Davidson would never get within single digits again.
A Hellems lay-up with 8:54 to play gave the Pack its largest lead of the game at 65-44.
After the Wildcats cut the deficit to 40-36, NC State went on a 25-8 run.
Junior forward Luke Brajkovic recorded 15 points to lead Davidson, while sophomore HyunJung Lee had 13 points. Senior guard Kellan Grady added 12 points as he scored the 2,000th point of his career during the game.
NC State will advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT and will play the winner of Buffalo and Colorado State on Thursday, March 25.