N.C. State's Richard Howell, right, pulls in the rebound in front of Boston College's Lonnie Jackson during the first half. ETHAN HYMAN - firstname.lastname@example.org
RALEIGH — N.C. State already gave away an ACC home game to one of the teams at the bottom of the conference standings earlier this month.
The Wolfpack wasn't interested in repeating any such mistakes against an out-manned Boston College team on Thursday night at the RBC Center.
With a focused and high-energy effort, State dispatched the Eagles, 76-62 to improve to 3-1 in the ACC for the first time in six years.
With consecutive convincing ACC wins, State has put the home loss to Georgia Tech on Jan. 11 in its rearview mirror.
Forwards Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie set the tone for the Wolfpack (14-5) during a game-changing 15-0 run that started with eight and half minutes left in the first half.
Howell was all hustle and sticky fingers. His diving effort after a loose ball with 3:32 left in the half inspired first-year coach Mark Gottfried to ask the home crowd for a show of appreciation.
Howell finished the game with 11 points, 16 rebounds and three steals.
Leslie, who was back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench in State's 76-40 win over Wake Forest last Saturday, added an efficient 14 points, on 7-of-9 shooting, in 27 minutes.
Gottfried said it was a measure of discipline to bench Leslie against Wake for an incident in practice last week. The talented sophomore got his coach's message loud and clear. Leslie finished an alley-oop and then had a steal and reverse layup to ignite the 15-0 run staked State to a 36-21 lead with three minutes left in the first half.
Leslie actually left the bench area with about 15 minutes left in the game, for an IV treatment for his reoccurring cramping issues, but returned to the bench after the 12-minute timeout and returned to the game at the 7-minute mark.
The Eagles (8-10) were off to a surprising 2-1 start in the ACC after going 0-3 against the Atlantic 10 before conference play. Executing coach Steve Donahue's precision offense, the Eagles actually had the game tied at 21 when 7-footer Dennis Clifford dropped in a 3-pointer at 8:44.
Then the Eagles proceeded to go almost six minutes without scoring, and stretching into the first five minutes of the second half, were out-scored 30 to 7 after Clifford's 3.
The Eagles trailed by as many as 23 in the second half and got as close as 14 but there was never really any tension in the second half.