Raleigh, NC – C.J. Leslie scored 19 points to lead five Wolfpack players in double figures, as 23rd-ranked North Carolina State cruised to an 84-68 win over Western Michigan.
Richard Howell had 18 points on 8-of-8 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds for the Wolfpack (10-2), who extended their winning streak to six games. T.J. Warren contributed 15 points, Scott Wood finished with 11 and Lorenzo Brown added 10.
Nate Hutcheson paced the Broncos (8-5) with 16 points, while Shayne Whittington supplied 14 and nine boards. Darius Paul donated a 12-point, 10- rebound double-double in Western Michigan's fourth loss in six games.
"The difference between the first half and the second half was North Carolina State's defense," Western Michigan coach Steve Hawkins admitted. "They picked up the pressure a whole lot more in the second half and took us out of rhythm a little bit."
The Broncos erased an eight-point deficit in the first half and moved ahead 24-21 on a Connar Tava layup with 9:33 remaining. Consecutive baskets by Warren gave NC State a 32-28 lead, but Western Michigan's Austin Richie tied the game with two easy layups.
Leslie, the reigning ACC Player of the Week, then ignited a 9-0 run with a three-point play. Warren and Howell followed with back-to-back dunks before Leslie concluded the burst with two free throws.
"Early in the game, (the Broncos) disrupted what we do," said NC State coach Mark Gottfried. "We can't be a team that turns it off and on like that."
NC State was up 43-36 at halftime and grabbed its first double-digit lead, 49-38, on Rodney Purvis' one-handed slam.
The Wolfpack continued to pull away and Leslie's tip-in gave the home team its largest lead at 75-54.
NC State has won eight straight home games and improved to 6-1 all-time against Mid-American Conference opponents ... Leslie surpassed 1,000 career points ... Western Michigan held a 42-32 rebounding edge, including a 22-10 discrepancy on the offensive glass.