RALEIGH, N.C. -- Freshman forward T.J. Warren scored 21 points to lead No. 25 North Carolina State past Norfolk State 84-62 on Saturday night.
They shot 57 percent and broke the game open with a transition-fueled run that bridged the halves, forcing 16 turnovers and turning them into 21 points while winning their third straight.
Malcolm Hawkins had 16 points for the Spartans (6-7), who lost their second straight -- both against Top 25 opponents. They hung around in this one for the first 15 minutes, but managed just one basket in about 10 1/2 minutes while the game got away from them.
NC State improved to 29-0 against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference teams.
Norfolk State didn't have anybody who could keep up with Brown, who had 12 points in the first half and was nearly perfect from the field: He made his first seven attempts before an ill-advised jumper with about 3 1/2 minutes to play was blocked by Rashid Gaston.
Brown added seven assists and helped the Wolfpack pull away late in the first half, scoring six points during the 20-4 run that pushed NC State's lead well into double figures.
His fast-break dunk capped the burst and made it 43-26 with just under 18 minutes left. And after Warren's layup gave the Wolfpack their largest lead at 54-32 with 13 1/2 minutes to play, Norfolk State didn't get closer than 13 the rest of the way.
Gaston finished with 11 points for the Spartans, whose top scorer couldn't get anything going because he spent much of the night in foul trouble. Pendarvis Williams, who averages a team-best 12 points, finished with four on 2-of-10 shooting while playing only 16 minutes.
C.J. Leslie had 11 points and freshman Rodney Purvis added 10 for the Wolfpack, whose first game at PNC Arena since Nov. 23 paired two teams that had memorable runs nine months ago in the NCAA tournament.
NC State upset its way to the round of 16, a spurt that helped make the Wolfpack the preseason favorites in the ACC. The Spartans return one starter (Williams) from the group that as a No. 15 seed knocked off second-seeded Missouri.
Playing for the first time since final exams wrapped up, NC State received a brief but effective test from a pesky Norfolk State team playing four nights after losing by 10 at No. 10 Illinois. The Spartans clawed back from an early 10-point deficit and closed to 23-22 on Kris Brown's layup with just under 7 minutes left in the first half before going cold.
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|South Carolina State||12-4||1||19-15|
|North Carolina Central||7-9||6||13-19|
|North Carolina A&T||7-9||6||10-22|