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Dec. 16, 2010
RALEIGH, N.C. - Sidney Lowe was concerned, after watching his team go through the motions of its first practice in a while at the RBC Center Wednesday afternoon, that it might not be focused on the task of playing Youngstown State on Thursday night.
For 20 minutes, that concern was legitimate. The Penguins came into the Wolfpack's home arena and waddled out to a 20-4 advantage in the first 10 minutes of the first half. A little more than three minutes before the half, Youngstown built its lead to a whopping 18 points.
But Lowe tried to stay calm. He knew if his team stopped taking quick shots, turned up its defensive intensity and began to work through its offensive sets, it would eventually settle down.
It took longer than expected, but thanks to the second-half play of point guards Javi Gonzalez and Ryan Harrow, the Wolfpack eventually erased Youngstown's lead and overwhelmed the Penguins with a 67-50 victory.
"If you watched me, I was still fairly calm," Lowe said, a trace of sweat still visible on his brow. "But I was thinking, `When are we going to come out of this thing?' What we were doing was some of our fault. We took some quick shots early. We just talked about getting back to our game.
"In the second half, our defense picked us up. We've been talking about that for a while, letting our defense ignite our offense."
The Wolfpack (6-3 overall) outscored the Penquins 46-16 in the second half, with Gonzalez and Harrow combining to score half those points. Lowe's team came back by simplifying its game, driving to the hole and drawing fouls. It converted its opportunities at the free-throw line, outscoring the Penguins 27-4 from the charity stripe. And it found ways to get guys other than sophomore Scott Wood open for some 3-point shots.