RALEIGH Whatever N.C. State lacked in continuity on Wednesday night against Boston College, it made up for in variety.
Rodney Purvis scored in transition, Scott Wood made a bunch of 3-pointers and C.J. Leslie bounced back in the Wolfpack’s 82-64 win against Boston College at PNC Arena.
N.C. State won its 20th game of the season, giving the Wolfpack consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time since Herb Sendek’s last three teams did it from 2004 to ’06.
Purvis had scored a total of 16 points in the previous five games combined but poured in a season-best 21 against the Eagles. There’s something about B.C. that brings out the best in the freshman guard. His previous season-best was 19 points in the win against the Eagles in January.
Purvis, who came off the bench for the third straight game, admitted his confidence took a hit with the recent dip in his production.
“The last few weeks have been really, really tough for me, but never did I get down on myself,” Purvis said. “I was just ready to get back on the court. Once you play bad for a little bit, and people get to talking, you just can’t wait to get back on the court.”
Three of Purvis’ first four field goals came in transition, including a dunk off a blocked shot by Leslie just 13 seconds after Purvis checked into the game for the first time.
Wood made five 3s, including an off-balance leaner to close the first half and one in transition to start the second half. Wood finished with 17 points and three steals.
Leslie, who was challenged by coach Mark Gottfried after last Saturday’s loss at North Carolina, had a busy night against the Eagles with 10 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots. Leslie, who had six turnovers against UNC, had only two in 29 minutes on Wednesday.
The junior forward said he understood Gottfried’s message after the UNC loss.
“He said everybody is entitled to a bad game, the best of them have ’em,” Leslie said. “Great players bounce back.”
N.C. State improved to 9-6 in the ACC and is trying to play its way out of the upcoming ACC tournament’s play-in round. With three games left, the Wolfpack needs to make up a game on either UNC or Virginia, both 9-5 in the ACC, in the loss column, to crack the top four of the conference standings.
The Eagles (12-16, 4-11) offered little resistance in the first eight and half minutes of the game. The Wolfpack raced to a 22-6 lead, with five early points from Purvis, and a three-point play from Leslie on a dunk over forward Eddie Odio.
Just when it looked like B.C., which lost at Duke last Sunday by 21 points, would check out, Lonnie Jackson (16 points) kept the Eagles afloat. Jackson had 11 points in the first half, with three 3-pointers. His 3 with 39.8 seconds left in the half cut the Wolfpack’s margin to 30-27.
But on N.C. State’s last possession, Odio blocked Wood’s first 3-point attempt only to see Wood gather the rebound and then lean toward the basket, and away from Odio, for a 3-pointer with 1 second left in the half.
The Eagles stayed within shouting distance in the first five minutes of the second half, but N.C. State’s scoring power was just too much. A steal by Wood and subsequent feed to Purvis on the fast break started a 22-9 spurt by the Wolfpack.
Gottfried was pleased with Purvis’ energy but even happier with his attitude since being replaced by T.J. Warren in the starting lineup.
“That’s not a fun thing to do when you’re that guy,” Gottfried said. “He has responded in a positive way.”