RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Torin Dorn scored 17 points and No. 20 North Carolina State wrapped up its nonconference schedule by beating Loyola (Maryland) 97-64 on Friday night.
Freshman Jericole Hellems matched his season high with 16 points for the Wolfpack (12-1) in the team’s first game with an AP Top 25 ranking in nearly six years. N.C. State shot 63 percent and used a 13-0 run spanning halftime to stretch out the lead, then maintained a comfortable margin on the way to a sixth straight win since its only loss at No. 15 Wisconsin.
Second-year coach Kevin Keatts has the Wolfpack off to the program’s best start since going 12-1 during the 2005-06 season.
Andrew Kostecka scored 27 points for the Greyhounds (4-9), who closed a five-game road swing with a third straight loss by at least 18 points. This was Loyola’s last nonconference game before opening Patriot League play.
Loyola (Maryland): The Greyhounds had come in with some offensive momentum under first-year coach Tavaras Hardy that they couldn’t replicate. They had shot 51 percent overall and 48 percent from 3-point range in the past four games, but they never found that kind of rhythm in Raleigh. Loyola shot 33 percent in the opening half when the game was close, then watched N.C. State run off the last eight points of the half to take a 45-30 lead at the break.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack returned to the AP Top 25 on Monday, earning the program’s first ranking since January 2013, following an upset of then-No. 7 Auburn. And the nonconference slate has established a formula for success, including getting reliable production from the reserves and converting pressure-forced turnovers into scores. The Wolfpack did both Friday, getting 45 bench points and scoring 35 points off turnovers.
Loyola (Maryland): The Greyhounds open Patriot League play by hosting Holy Cross on Thursday.
N.C. State: Time to hit the road for the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play with Thursday’s trip to Miami.