RALEIGH, N.C. – C.J. Leslie, the bane of St. Bonaventure’s meeting with North Carolina State last year, once again powered the Wolfpack past the Bonnies.
The junior forward scored a career-best 33 points as No. 25 N.C. State routed Bona, 92-73, before 16,288 at the PNC Arena on Saturday.
The snapshot of Leslie’s twisting buzzer-beater last season in Rochester remained crisp in the minds of the Bonnies, but Leslie was clearly more dominant this time around.
He finished 10 of 13 from the floor and 13 of 18 from the free-throw line and had eight rebounds, two assists and three blocks against St. Bonaventure (7-4).
Bona sophomore center Youssou Ndoye recorded his first career double-double, but the Wolfpack (9-2) shot 57 percent and never trailed.
Ndoye, who scored in double figures for the third consecutive game with a career-high 14, also grabbed a personal best 14 rebounds to help aid in Bona’s 38-35 rebounding edge and rejected a game-high four shots.
Guard Eric Mosley delivered a team-high 18 points – one shy of tying his career high – as the senior came off the bench to drain 5 of 9 three-point attempts and three of his four free throws.
“It makes for a much better Christmas to win, I can tell you that,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried told the Raleigh News & Observer. “I think St. Bonaventure is going to be a really good A-10 team. They’re tough to guard. I think we beat a very good, solid team.”
After N.C. State raced out to a fast start, Bonaventure was able to pull within one, 19-18, midway through the first half following Mosley’s second consecutive three-pointer. Nevertheless, that’s as close as St. Bonaventure would get the rest of the game.
“To me they’re playing better, together, more unselfish,” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt told the News & Observer about the Wolfpack. “They’re a year older. They understand. And they’ve got a couple of (future) pros on their team.”
Bonaventure shot 13 of 32 (40.6 percent) in both the first and second half. N.C. State had a 24-8 fastbreak edge in points.
St. Bonaventure begins an eight-day break, its longest of the season, before returning to action on New Year’s Eve day against Iona at the Reilly Center.