NEW YORK — Richard Howell had two points and a headache at halftime of No. 25 North Carolina State’s game against Connecticut.
When the second game of the Jimmy V Classic was over on Tuesday night, Howell, a 6-foot-8, 257-pound senior, had 13 points,10 rebounds and a headache as the Wolfpack beat the Huskies 69-65 at Madison Square Garden.
“It was a whole new game. I don’t know,” Howell said of the second half. ” We just wanted to go out there and get the win. I was a little shaken up from the head injury. I had a kind of stinger in the first half. We just had to come out and give it our all. It was just me going out there and going hard.”
C.J. Leslie had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Wolfpack (5-2), who had lost two of three. They have dropped 19 spots in the AP poll over the last four weeks after being ranked No. 6 in the preseason Top 25.
“I think this was a gutsy win and I thought we really defended better in the second half,” Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. “First half, (Connecticut’s) rebounding killed us. We were not rebounding the ball nearly as well as we can and they did a great job.”
Howell led North Carolina State’s second-half rush to the boards. The Wolfpack had 20 rebounds in the second half, 11 on the offensive end — and Howell grabbed seven of those. The Huskies had 13 rebounds in the second half, six offensive.
“They got the 50-50 balls. They boxed out and Howell got some loose balls,” first-year Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie said. “I wouldn’t say they out-toughed us. They made more plays, winning plays, when it counted.”
Shabazz Napier led the Huskies (6-2) with 19 points and Ryan Boatright added 18.
Napier scored Connecticut’s first 10 points of the game and led the Huskies to an 11-point lead. The Wolfpack later used an 11-2 run that brought them within one and they led 32-31 at halftime.
There were three ties from 8:19 to 5:14, when Leslie made two free throws for a 55-53 lead the Wolfpack never relinquished.
“I felt like we lost our intensity in the second half,” Napier said. “They got a lot of offensive rebounds, Howell and Leslie got most of them in the second half. You’re supposed to pick yourself up in second half and we fell short.
“I can’t stress enough that the intensity wasn’t there. We let down big time. That speaks that we weren’t ready in the second half.”
Lorenzo Brown had 16 points for North Carolina State and Scott Wood had 13.
Enosch Wolf added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Huskies.
Both programs had a connection to the doubleheader that is part of ESPN’s week of raising money for the V Foundation as it continues to help in the fight against cancer.
Jim Valvano’s signature moment came in 1983 when the Wolfpack won the national championship on a dunk by Lorenzo Charles at the buzzer and Valvano ran around the court looking for someone to hug.
Valvano’s widow, Pam, flew up with the team from Raleigh.
Gottfried asked adidas to help him design a uniform for this special occasion.
“They came up with kind of the design which I thought was really good when I first saw it. I thought it was really cool,” he said. “I like the net somewhat around the neck, it’s kind of lightly seen but it’s there. Then I really love the back of the jerseys. I even like the old-style lettering, ‘State’ in the old-fashioned block lettering for one night.”
On the back, instead of the player’s name, each jersey had Valvano’s trademark phrase, “Don’t Ever Give Up.”
“There is such history playing in a building like this,” Leslie said. “We played in a great tournament, got a great win. This was for him and I’m sure he’s thinking this is great.”
Sitting a few rows behind the Connecticut bench was Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun, who retired this year after leading the Huskies to three national championships. He is a three-time cancer survivor, overcoming prostate cancer in 2003 and skin cancer twice, most recently in 2008.
“It’s great that they have raised over $100 million for research,” Ollie said. “My father had prostate cancer six years ago and it’s gone. We’re going to beat this disease.”
No. 3 MICHIGAN 73, WESTERN MICHIGAN 41
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Trey Burke had 20 points and seven assists, and Michigan eased past Western Michigan.
The Wolverines (8-0) had actually lost their previous two games against the Broncos, but that was more than a decade ago. Western Michigan (6-2) had won six straight coming into this game, including a victory over South Florida, but the Broncos wasted a chance to stay with the Wolverines, turning the ball over 13 times in the first half.
Nik Stauskas scored 11 points for Michigan, and fellow freshman Mitch McGary added 10 on 5-of-5 shooting.
Freshman Darius Paul had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Western Michigan.
It is Michigan’s first 8-0 start since 1996-97.
No. 5 LOUISVILLE 80, CHARLESTON 38
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Wayne Blackshear had 18 points and Louisville used its stifling defense to take control against College of Charleston.
The Cardinals (7-1) used a 22-7 run midway through the opening half to build a 36-14 lead and easily win their second straight since a loss to Duke.
Russ Smith had 13 points and Peyton Siva 12 for Louisville, which turned up its defense at the sold-out TD Arena. The Cardinals finished with a season-high 18 steals and forced Charleston (5-3) into a season-high 27 turnovers, 11 more than it had averaged coming in.
Adjehi Baru had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Cougars. Charleston leading scorer Andrew Lawrence finished with three points on 1-for-6 shooting.
No. 8 ARIZONA 63, SOUTHERN MISS 55
TUCSON, Ariz. — Nick Johnson scored 23 points, Kevin Parrom had 13 of his 14 in the second half and Arizona overcame a season-high 27 turnovers to hold off Southern Mississippi.
Arizona (6-0) struggled against Southern Miss’ zone defense, throwing passes into traffic and to open spaces, even one that sailed over the coaches on the bench into the crowd.
The Wildcats hung on behind their defense, forcing Southern Miss into 17 second-half turnovers to pull away to their best start since opening the 1999-2000 season with six straight wins.
Southern Miss (6-2) used its swarming zone while building an eight-point halftime lead and kept forcing Arizona into mistakes.
The Golden Eagles struggled against Arizona’s pressure in the second half, though, missing all eight of their 3-point attempts while nearly quadrupling their turnovers from the first half.
Neil Watson led Southern Miss with 17 points.
No. 12 MISSOURI 81, SE MISSOURI STATE 65
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Laurence Bowers scored a career-high 26 points to help Missouri rally from 10 points down at halftime and beat Southeast Missouri State.
The Tigers trailed for 17 minutes before Bowers made a turnaround jumper to give Missouri a 57-56 lead with 10:56 remaining. The Tigers stretched the lead to 73-62 with 4:16 left on an alley-oop dunk by Keion Bell.
Phil Pressey added 17 points for the Tigers (7-1) after going only 3 of 14 from the field in the first half, including 1 for 6 from 3-point range.
Corey Wilford scored all 14 of his points in the first half to lead the Redhawks (6-5). Nino Johnson and Missouri transfer Tyler Stone both added 13.
No. 13 ILLINOIS 72, WESTERN CAROLINA 64
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Brandon Paul scored 14 points and Illinois held off Western Carolina after the game was tied at 54 with 5:53 left.
Illinois guard D.J. Richardson hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions for a 62-56 lead. Richardson finished with 13 points.
After a Western Carolina turnover, Illini guard Tracy Abrams made two free throws and a basket on the following possession for a 66-56 lead. Abrams added 10 points for the Illini, who shot 40 percent.
Preston Ross paced the Catamounts (3-6) with 17 points. James Sinclair added 13 points and eight rebounds. Brandon Boggs had 16 points off the bench.
The Illini (9-0) play at No. 10 Gonzaga on Saturday.
No. 14 MINNESOTA 88, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 64
MINNEAPOLIS — Andre Hollins scored 20 of his 22 points before halftime and Minnesota breezed past a South Dakota State team missing point guard Nate Wolters.
Hollins hit his first six 3-point attempts and finished 8 for 9 from the field for the Gophers (9-1), who reached their highest ranking in The Associated Press poll this week in six years under coach Tubby Smith.
Austin Hollins had 17 points, five assists and four steals, Joe Coleman added 15 points and seven rebounds, and the Gophers notched their largest winning margin this season.
Jordan Dykstra scored 17 points for the Jackrabbits (6-3), who missed Wolters. The standout from nearby St. Cloud has an ankle injury that prevented him from playing in his home state for the final time.
No. 15 GEORGETOWN 64, TEXAS 41
NEW YORK — Otto Porter had 14 points and eight rebounds to lead Georgetown over Texas in the opener of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Nate Lubick added 13 points and Markel Starks had 11 for the Hoyas, who led by 13 at halftime. The lead grew to 23 and was never less than eight in the second half.
The Hoyas (6-1), whose only loss this season was to No. 1 Indiana in overtime, scored the first nine points of the game, the last four from Lubick on layups.
Sheldon McClellan had 12 points to lead the Longhorns (5-3), who had their lowest point total under coach Rick Barnes, who took over for the 1998-99 season. Texas had won three straight after losing two in a row.
No. 21 UNLV 68, PORTLAND 60
PORTLAND, Ore. — Justin Hawkins had 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in a second-half rally that sent UNLV past tenacious Portland.
Playing their first game on the road this season, the Runnin’ Rebels (6-1) were without top rebounder Mike Moser, who sat out with a hip injury in his home city. Anthony Bennett had 18 points and Anthony Marshall added 16 for UNLV.
Ryan Nicholas had 15 points and 19 rebounds for the Pilots (3-5), who led 28-22 at halftime and extended the lead to nine early in the second half.
Hawkins’ 3-pointer tied it at 42 and Quintrell Thomas’ dunk gave the Runnin’ Rebels the lead with 13:45 left. David Carr answered with a 3-pointer for Portland, but UNLV took charge with a 12-0 run that included a jumper, a free throw and consecutive 3-pointers from Hawkins for a 56-47 lead.
No. 6 Georgia women cruise past Mercer, 80-38
ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia used its depth to get balanced scoring in another easy win.
Jasmine Hassell, Jasmine James and Erika Ford scored 12 points each as 11 players scored in the sixth-ranked Lady Bulldogs’ 80-38 victory over Mercer on Tuesday night.
Georgia (10-0) is off to its best start since opening the 2009-10 season with 16 victories, and has won by an average of 27.3 points a game.
“I really like the way our team is playing right now,” freshman guard Marjorie Butler said. “Nobody on the team is selfish and everybody is going out there and playing hard every game. That’s hard for any team to play against us when you have nine and 10 people going out there every game and giving their all.”
The Lady Bulldogs had 10 players log between 11 and 25 minutes against Mercer. For the season, nine players are averaging between 16 and 24 minutes.
“I think we’ve done a really good job thus far,” James said. “Having five freshmen and then having the class (of seniors) that we have, we’ve done a really good job of jelling together.”