Raleigh, NC – C.J. Leslie poured in a career-high 19 points to go with eight rebounds on Saturday, as No. 25 North Carolina State handled Cleveland State, 80-63, at Reynolds Coliseum.
Richard Howell recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards, while T.J. Warren added 16 points off the bench for the Wolfpack (6-2), who have won two straight since a Nov. 27 loss to No. 3 Michigan.
"We found some gaps and holes in their defense," NC State coach Mark Gottfried remarked. "This is a good win."
Charlie Lee led Cleveland State (6-3) with 15 points and Devon Long donated 12 points and nine rebounds in the setback, snapping the Vikings' two-game winning streak.
"[NC State] is a talented offensive group," Cleveland State coach Gary Waters admitted of the Wolfpack. "That talent will allow them to win a lot this year, but I think if we hadn't turned the ball over unnecessarily, it might have been a different game."
With the game locked at, 13-13, five minutes into the contest, Leslie threw down a dunk to send the Wolfpack on a 10-1 surge that the junior forward capped with a 3-pointer to give NC State a nine-point edge with 11:08 left in the half.
The lead ballooned to 17 later in the first on a Warren triple and the Wolfpack carried a 47-32 advantage into the break.
Cleveland State pulled within 10 just over six minutes into the second half on a Lee 3-pointer, but Lorenzo Brown answered with back-to-back buckets to make it 61-47 with 12:30 left in the contest.
The Wolfpack held the visitors at bay from there, never allowing the Vikings to get closer than 11 the rest of the way.
It was the first-ever meeting between the two clubs ... Brown finished with 10 points and six assists for the Wolfpack ... NC State shot 54.7 percent (29- of-53) from the field, while the Vikings shot 43.9 percent (25-of-57) from the field.