After fading down the stretch to lose at No. 25 Miami a week ago, North Carolina State responded Tuesday with a 92-73 home rout of Furman.
Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts saw improvement in the team’s mental and physical toughness.
“We looked each other in the eye and said, ‘We’re going to get better,'” Keatts said. “I’m proud of my guys’ bounce-back. It was a really good win.”
NC State (9-3) now will try to earn consecutive victories for the first time this month as it faces Vanderbilt in Legends of Basketball Showcase play on Saturday in Chicago.
The game is the finale of a quadruple-header to be played at United Center.
Vanderbilt (5-5) might be better served with an earlier tipoff. The Commodores haven’t played since a 64-62 nonconference home loss to Grambling State on Dec. 9.
Missing senior standout Jordan Wright (hip), the Commodores fell into a 10-0 hole in the first five-plus minutes of the game and committed 19 turnovers.
Commodores coach Jerry Stackhouse called the miscues “a recipe for disaster in a tough loss,” adding, “We missed Jordan and what he brings to the table for us, but we had enough to get it done tonight and we just didn’t.”
Vanderbilt was coming off a one-point home win against Pitt, the Wolfpack’s ACC counterpart, on Dec. 7. Pitt topped host NC State 68-60 five days earlier.
Terquavion Smith paced the Wolfpack with 24 points against Furman to lead five NC State players in double figures.
Freshman reserve L.J. Thomas contributed a career-best 14 points.
“You just have to be ready when your number is called and bring everything you can to the team,” Thomas said. “My role is to be an energy guy, be active.”
Vanderbilt holds a 3-2 edge in the all-time series with NC State, and Saturday will mark the sixth different site at which the schools have played.
The Commodores and Wolfpack last met on Dec. 1, 2018, in Miami, with NC State winning 80-65.
–Field Level Media