RALEIGH (AP) — NC State was never in danger of losing the game, but the Wolfpack did lose something else after halftime: Their focus.
Still, a huge first-half surge was more than enough to carry State to an 85-57 rout of Saint Peter’s on Tuesday night.
The Wolfpack were outscored in the second half for a second straight game, with the Peacocks scoring 30 points to their 26.
“Any time you look at the scoreboard and you’re up 20, 30 points, it’s kind of hard to muster up the same energy,” guard Torin Dorn said. “But that’s something we have to work on as the season progresses, keeping up the same energy and intensity in the second half.”
Dorn scored 12 points, Eric Lockett added 11 points, and Braxton Beverly and freshman Jerricole Hellems had 10 apiece to help the Wolfpack (5-0) earn their fifth straight blowout of an overmatched opponent. Eight players finished with at least seven points each.
“It just gives everybody confidence that your teammate is there if you’re not having a great game,” Hellems said.
State shot 52 percent and held the Peacocks without a field goal for about 12½ minutes of the first half while pushing its lead into the 30s with a 41-8 run, a burst keyed by 11 points from Dorn and six 3-pointers.
The Wolfpack finished with 10 3s, making nine of them in the first half three nights after they hit eight in the first half of a rout of Maine.
Davauhnte Turner had 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting to lead Saint Peter’s (1-3), which missed 11 consecutive shots while falling into that inescapable deficit and losing its third straight. The Peacocks shot 33 percent and were just 4 of 21 from 3-point range.
“I told the guys, if you could weather the storm the first 10 minutes of the game, you’ve got a chance to be in it,” first-year coach Shaheen Holloway said. “I thought we did a good job (until) the first media time-out, and after that, we just started giving up 3 and 3 and 3 and 3 and 3.”
Saint Peter’s: Holloway has some work to do, and it doesn’t get any easier with a visit to No. 8 Auburn looming next week. The Peacocks can build on the first five minutes of this one, when they made six of their first nine shots while taking an early four-point lead, or they can focus on outscoring State 30-26 in the second half.
N.C. State: This was supposed to be the Wolfpack’s toughest test so far — at least, according to the analytics. The Peacocks entered at No. 222 in Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency ratings, while each of State’s first four opponents were rated in the 300s. Instead, this one barely differed from those first four games, which were decided by an average of 41.5 points apiece.
KEY STATS: State had assists on 17 of its first 20 baskets. . The Wolfpack actually faced its deepest deficit of the season, trailing by four points when Quinn Taylor’s layup made it 11-7 roughly four minutes in. It was the first time State trailed since it fell behind Mount St. Mary’s by a bucket in the opener.
HE SHOOTS 2S, TOO
It’s worth noting that Beverly took his first 2-point shot of the season. The sophomore guard’s first 22 shots of the year came from 3-point range. For the record, his first 2-point attempt was a missed layup about four minutes in. He finished 2 of 5 from beyond the arc and 0 for 4 inside of it.