Raleigh, NC – A stellar shooting night from Ralston Turner led N.C. State to an 83-72 win over Tennessee on Wednesday. The senior scored a career-high 33 points on 9-of-18 shooting and a blistering 8-of-17 showing from three-point range to lead the Wolfpack to their ninth win of the year.
Turner, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, exploited Tennessee’s aggressive defensive style from the beginning. The Volunteers mixed a 1-2-2 full court press and 1-3-1 defense that was exposed to open three-point shooters. Turner, shooting 40.7% from three-point range entering Wednesday’s contest, scored 17 first half points including a 5-of-9 showing from deep. His shooting ability was ultimately too much for Tennessee’s defense to defend.
Outside of Turner’s knock-down shooting, Alabama transfer Trevor Lacey added 20 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. The 6-foot-3 junior was 6-of-8 from the field and 3-of-5 from three-point range. Lacey will be one of the top scorers in the ACC this season.
Teamed with Lacey and the sharp-shooting Turner, talented sophomore point guard Anthony “Cat” Barber is the final piece to N.C. State’s potent backcourt. Barber excels as an on-ball defender and uses his quickness to frustrate opposing ball handlers. He’s also an effective lead guard on the offensive end, shown in his seven points and eight assists against Tennessee.
Senior Josh Richardson led the Volunteers with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Tennessee has moved the 6-foot-6 guard to the point guard position, where he looked comfortable on Wednesday. He added five assists and three rebounds in the loss. Richardson is a solid perimeter defender and will be key for a depleted Tennessee squad this season. He can use his athleticism to slash to the bucket, but can expand his jumper out to the three-point line.
N.C. State improved to 9-2 on the year and will face nationally ranked West Virginia in its next game. Tennessee, with first-year head coach Donnie Tyndall at the helm, fell to 4-4. After a tough early season schedule that included losses to VCU, Kansas, and Marquette, the Volunteers did score a win over Butler in the preseason slate. They shouldn’t have another major test until conference play.
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