GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Tracy Smith scored 21 points to lead North Carolina State past North Carolina-Greensboro 89-67 on Thursday night.
Dennis Horner added 17 points for the Wolfpack (10-3), who established a season scoring high and shot nearly 68 percent in the second half. They never trailed, blew most of an early 15-point lead and used an overwhelming second-half spurt to cruise to their second straight win.
Ben Stywall had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Spartans (2-10). They had 21 turnovers in losing their sixth straight and falling to 0-5 against the Atlantic Coast Conference -- which will hold its tournament at their home arena. That's the main reason why so many ACC schools scheduled games against UNC Greensboro.
N.C. State didn't turn the ball over during the first 15 minutes of the second half and put the game away with a 20-4 run that began with about 13 1/2 minutes to play.
Horner started the decisive run with two free throws to make it 47-39, and his jumper at the 10-minute mark pushed the Wolfpack's lead into double figures to stay. Freshman Scott Wood's 3 from the corner capped the burst, made it 69-47 and pushed N.C. State's lead into the 20s for the first time.
Wood had season highs of five 3s and 15 points, and Javier Gonzalez also scored 15 for the Wolfpack, who made a strong start stand against a regional mid-major opponent for the second straight game.
Just as in the win against Winthrop two nights earlier, N.C. State raced out to a big early lead. The Wolfpack opened this one with a 23-8 run over 9 1/2 minutes, hitting 9 of 15 shots. Four of those shots belonged to Smith, and all were from point-blank range.
Then came the offensive inconsistency that at times this season has plagued N.C. State.
Facing an opponent that has grown increasingly comfortable against ACC teams, the Wolfpack went nearly 7 1/2 minutes between field goals and allowed the Spartans to get back in the game.
UNC Greensboro used a 16-4 burst led by its guards to cut it to 27-24 with roughly 2 1/2 minutes left, and trailed 32-28 at the break on Brandon Evans' 15-footer about a second before the buzzer.
Evans had 14 points, Korey Van Dussen scored 12 points and Brian Cole finished with 10 for UNC Greensboro, which at least has made progress against the power-conference teams on the schedule. For the second straight game, the Spartans kept things competitive for a while after halftime. They were coming off a 15-point loss to Wake Forest and face Maryland on Sunday in the final game of their pseudo-ACC schedule.