RALEIGH, N.C. – Despite a team-high 14 points by Babatunde Olumuyiwa (Athens, Ga./Clarke Central HS) and a career-best 12 points by Chandler Hash (Greer, S.C./Greer HS), it was the Wolfpack of North Carolina State that claimed the 79-60 victory on Saturday afternoon inside Reynolds Coliseum.
In 28 minutes of play, Olumuyiwa connected on 6-of-9 shots and was 2-for-3 at the free throw line and he finished with four rebounds, two blocks and an assist to go along with his 14 points. Meanwhile, Hash was 4-for-5 from the field, all from beyond the 3-point line en route to his 12 points in just six minutes of play.
USC Upstate (2-7, 1-0 A-Sun) opened the game on a 9-3 run over the first 5:38. Tony Dukes (Ellenwood, Ga./Atlanta Metropolitan College) got the Spartans on the board first with a layup from the left side of the paint. After N.C. State regained the lead at 3-2, the Spartans surged ahead by six thanks to a three pointer by Chalmers Rogers (Fort Mill, S.C./Fort Mill HS), a jumper by Torrey Craig (Rock Hill, S.C./Great Falls HS) and a pair of free throws by Mezie Uzochukwu (Greensboro, N.C./Northeast Guilford HS).
After the Spartans moved in front by six, its largest lead of the game, it was all Wolfpack (5-3, 0-0 ACC) the remainder of the first half. N.C. State closed the half on a 32-13 run to take a 35-22 lead to the locker room.
"I am disappointed in the way our team played today," said head coach Eddie Payne. "I felt we prepared very well for the game, but we didn't execute like I expected our squad to do today. We started the game well, leading 9-3, but then got away from the game plan as we rushed shots and turned the ball over and that allowed N.C. State to take control of the game."
N.C. State scored 26 of its 35 first half points in the paint and used pressure defense to cause eight Spartan turnovers leading to 10 transition points.
The Wolfpack opened the second half on a 14-4 run to go in front by 23 at 49-26 with 14:37 remaining. The N.C. State lead fluctuated between 17 and 25 points down the stretch before the Wolfpack claimed the victory in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Torrey Craig finished the game with nine points and six rebounds, while Mezie Uzochukwu finished with six points on the afternoon. With his jumper in the paint with 18:14 remaining in the second half, Uzochukwu surpassed the 700 career point plateau as he became the 39th-player in school-history to accomplish the feat.
Ryan Harrow paced the Wolfpack with 20 points, while Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie finished with 17 and 13 respectively.
For the game, the Spartans shot 38.3% (23-for-60) from the floor and 36.4% (8-for-22) from beyond the three point line. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack finished 53.2% (33-for-62) from the field and 55.6% (5-for-9) from beyond the three-point arc.
N.C. State led the way in points in the paint (50-24), points off of turnovers (14-8), second chance points (15-13) and fast break points (19-8). The Spartans, fueled by Hash and Olumuyiwa, led the way in bench scoring, 32-28.
Upstate will return to action on Thursday night as they welcome Campbell to the Hodge Center for a Spartan basketball doubleheader. The women's team will tip-off at 5:00 p.m. against the Camels with the men's game beginning 30 minutes after the conclusion of the women's contest.