NC State Pulls Away in Second Half to Down Mount St. Mary’s in Season Opener

NC State Pulls Away in Second Half to Down Mount St. Mary’s in Season Opener

Raleigh, N.C. (November 6, 2018) – Mount St. Mary's battled and hung tough with NC State throughout the opening half of play, but the Wolfpack outscored the Mount by a 65-25 margin in the second to pull away and post a 105-55 victory in the season opener at PNC Arena on Tuesday night. Sophomore Jalen Gibbs had an impressive regular season debut for the Mount, leading the team with a career-high 24 points.

Gibbs, a transfer from Drake, shot 9-for-17 from the floor for his 24 points, to go along with six rebounds. Rookie Vado Morse finished with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting in his collegiate debut, while also dishing out four assists.

For NC State, Torin Dorn recorded a game-high 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting and a 4-for-7 mark from deep. The guard finished just one rebound shy of a double-double with nine boards. Markell Johnson (17 pts), CJ Bryce (16), and Devon Daniels (10) were the three other NC State players with double-digit points.  

The Mountaineers went back and forth with NC State through the early stages of the contest, never trailing by more than seven until the final minutes of the opening half. The Wolfpack opened an 18-12 advantage at the midway mark of the first frame, but Morse and Gibbs helped the Mount cut into the lead.

Morse's first three-pointer of the game at the 6:51 mark brought the Mount back within three, 24-21, but NC State followed with eight straight points, capped by a Daniels three-pointer, to build a 32-21 lead.

Damian Chong Qui put an end to the NCSU run with a floater in the lane, but the Wolfpack were able to respond and grab their largest lead of the half, 40-28, with under a minute showing on the clock. Gibbs got the final bucket of the half for the Mountaineers to make it a 10-point game, 40-30, heading into the break.

The Mount shot 11-for-31 (.355) from the field and 3-for-7 (.429) from long range in the first half, while NC State went 17-for-37 (.459) from the floor and just 2-of-9 (.222) from deep. Morse and Gibbs combined for 22 of the team's 30 points in the frame.

Gibbs, who scored 10 in the opening frame, continued to do work in the second, scoring 14 of the Mount's first 18 points in the stanza. The sophomore's first three-pointer of the tilt at the 15:42 mark brought the Mountaineers back within single-digits at 49-41.

The Wolfpack were able to keep Mount St. Mary's at arms-length over the ensuing three minutes of play before beginning a big run to break things open. With NC State leading by 10 at the 12:25 mark, Markell Johnson hit a three-pointer, which ignited a huge Wolfpack run in the final 12-plus minutes of the contest.

NC State added 10 straight after the Johnson three to make it a 23-point advantage, before Gibbs converted in transition for the Mount to break up the rally. The Wolfpack answered and took commanding control of the game by scoring 20 of the game's next 24 points to open an 89-52 advantage.

NCSU ended the game on a 49-9 run overall to come away with the 105-55 victory.

The Mount went 20-of-61 (.328) in the contest and shot a 5-for-21 (.238) clip from three-point range. NCSU shot 41-of-74 (.554) from the floor and 10-of-22 (.455) from deep.

Head Coach Dan Engelstad, along with nine Mount players, made their regular season debuts with Mount St. Mary's in the contest.

The Mountaineers return to action on November 9 for a matchup at Hofstra at 7:30 p.m.