Purvis sparks NC State past Boston College 82-64
Rodney Purvis lost some self-confidence — and his starting job — during the past few weeks. The North Carolina State freshman is getting one of those things back by making a case to reclaim the second one.
Purvis scored a season-high 21 points to lead the Wolfpack's 82-64 rout of Boston College on Wednesday night.
After starting N.C. State's first 18 games and slipping into a slump, he was replaced in the starting lineup by fellow freshman T.J. Warren.
"That's not a fun thing to do when you are that guy" who gets benched, coach Mark Gottfried said. "He's responded in a positive way."
He certainly got back to playing like the gem of one of the nation's top recruiting classes, hitting 8 of his 11 shots, reaching double figures for the first time since Feb. 2 and improving on his previous high of 19 points set against BC in January.
"I was going through a little stretch where I was losing a little confidence in myself," Purvis said. "But I stayed motivated — I'm always motivated to get better — and I just tried to push myself more and more. That's the biggest thing."
Scott Wood added 17 points with five 3-pointers while Purvis scored six during the run of 10 straight points midway through the second half that helped the Wolfpack (20-8, 9-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) pull away.
Warren scored 13 points, Lorenzo Brown had 11 and C.J. Leslie finished with 10 in an encouraging bounce-back performance for N.C. State, which is a half-game behind fourth-place Virginia in the race for one of the four first-round byes in the ACC tournament.
"We've won four out of five. Sky's not falling. We're still swinging," Gottfried said. "They're excited about trying to finish the year really well, and I think that's something they want. And so we've just got to keep going."
Lonnie Jackson scored 16 points and Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson each had 12 for Boston College (12-16, 4-11).
The Eagles fell to 1-7 in conference road games and absorbed their second blowout on Tobacco Road in a four-day span. Duke beat them by 21 on Sunday.
"We played in two very difficult places," BC coach Steve Donahue said. "These two games we lost to two good teams in two difficult places to win in. We did not keep our composure, but the teams we lost to played a major role in that."
And unlike that beatdown at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Boston College was in this one into the second half. Jackson's free throw with 16:51 left pulled the Eagles to 39-34.
That's when the uptempo Wolfpack finally got themselves off and running. N.C. State turned two BC turnovers into fast-break layups by Purvis.
After Wood hit two free throws following a technical foul on BC's Ryan Anderson, Purvis added a jumper in the lane to push the lead to 49-34 with 13 minutes left.
"Any time we can get (Purvis) out in transition, he's a lethal player," Wood said. "So we've got to keep ... getting him out on transition where he's best."
The Eagles didn't get closer than 11 the rest of the way while the Wolfpack gradually grew their lead. Brown made it a 20-point game with a layup with just over 8 minutes left.
It was also a night of redemption for Leslie, who finished with as many turnovers (six) as points in a loss at rival North Carolina on Saturday.
"I thought he was unselfish," Gottfried said. "I think he passed the ball, he rebounded. Defensively he was a little bit better. He's one of those guys — every team expects their better players to play well. That's part of life and we have that expectation for him every night."
Richard Howell had 10 rebounds for N.C. State, which improved to 15-1 at home and reached the 20-win mark for the second time in Gottfried's two seasons.
The Wolfpack threatened to run the Eagles out of PNC Arena by reeling off 14 straight points during an early 22-4 run that ended on Leslie's free throw that made it 22-6.
For BC, that start was eerily reminiscent of the 12 consecutive points it allowed Duke to score during the 48-17 run that effectively ended that game by halftime.
Only, this time, the youth-dominated Eagles responded by scoring 11 straight points — including three 3-pointers in less than 2 minutes — to immediately, but temporarily, get back in it. Later, Jackson's around-and-in 3 in the final minute of the half made it 30-27.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.