RALEIGH, N.C. – Freshman C.J. Leslie had 14 points and a season-high 19 rebounds, and North Carolina State pulled away late to beat Youngstown State 67-50 on Thursday night.
Fellow freshman Ryan Harrow added 14 points and Javi Gonzalez scored 11 for the Wolfpack (6-3). They trailed by 18 with 3½ minutes left in the first half but outscored the Penguins 46-16 in the second half in winning their second straight game.
Vytas Sulskis had 14 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 1:04 left for Youngstown State. The Penguins (5-5) scored just five points in the final 9 minutes and fell to 0-4 all-time against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.
Leslie single-handedly keyed the run late in the first half, scoring nine consecutive points to help get the Wolfpack back in the game.
N.C. State then opened the second half with a 20-6 run and held the Penguins to one field goal in the first 8 minutes of the half. Harrow's free throw with 10:06 left gave the Wolfpack their first lead, 40-39.
Dan Boudler's layup put Youngstown State up 45-42 with 9:08 remaining, but the Penguins managed just two field goals the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, N.C. State pulled away with a late 25-5 run. Gonzalez' free throw with 2:58 left put the Wolfpack up by double figures for the first time, 57-47.
Playing at the RBC Center for the first time in three weeks, N.C. State had hoped to have a much easier time against a Horizon League opponent that is winless in road games — especially leading into its marquee nonconference home game, a visit from Arizona on Sunday.
But the Wolfpack made enough plays down the stretch to improve to 31-5 under Sidney Lowe against non-ACC teams at home.
They once again were without all-ACC forward Tracy Smith, who missed his seventh straight game while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. Scott Wood, one of the league's top 3-point threats, was scoreless until he hit a 3 with 3½ minutes left and finished with three points on 1-of-7 shooting.
Youngstown State led by double figures for virtually the entire first half, opening the game on a 20-3 run while holding the Wolfpack to one field goal during the first 9½ minutes.
The Penguins pushed their lead to 31-13 on DuShawn Brooks' 3-pointer with 3½ minutes to go until halftime, before the Wolfpack used an 8-0 run — all by Leslie — to pull to 31-21 in the final minute of the half. Allen's 3 with 1 second left made it 34-21 at the break.