Richard Howell scored 22 points with 12 rebounds while Lorenzo Brown led the defensive effort on league player of the year Erick Green to help North Carolina State beat Virginia Tech 80-63 in Thursday's first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
C.J. Leslie scored 15 points for the fifth-seeded Wolfpack (23-9), who shot 52.8 percent (28 of 53) and took control with an 11-0 second-half run. N.C. State led by 17 points after that spurt and never let the 12th-seeded Hokies (13-19) get the margin under double figures again.
Brown had nine points, 12 assists and seven rebounds, but did his best work as a nagging defense presence against Green — the nation's leading scorer at 25.4 points per game. Green finished with 15 on 5-for-19 shooting for one more frustrating ACC tournament performance in the senior's final game.
The Wolfpack advanced to Friday's quarterfinals to face fourth-seeded Virginia.