Purvis' 21 lead Wolfpack over Boston College
Whatever was burdening the mind of Rodney Purvis, it may have passed. The fleet freshman from Raleigh certainly passed himself back into a contributing role for the Wolfpack Tuesday night.
Purvis came off the bench to score 21 points, helping N.C. State to a methodical 82-64 win over Boston College in PNC Arena. The Wolfpack (20-8, 9-6 ACC) assured itself at least a .500 finish in the league and its second straight 20-win season under head coach Mark Gottfried.
It was a marked change for the 6-foot-3 guard, who had went 4-for-17 and averaged less than three points a game the last four outings after averaging more than 10 points the previous six.
“The last few weeks have been really, really tough for me,” Purvis said. “Never did I get down on myself or anything. I stayed in the gym at nights, and everything like that, and tried to speak to myself mentally.”
Purvis didn’t elaborate much, but said “school, things like that” were weighing on him.
“I just had a lot of things on my mind,” Purvis said after topping his previous career high of 19, achieved against the Eagles (12-16, 4-11 ACC) on Jan. 5. “I’m not the type to make excuses or anything like that. But I was going through a little stretch. I was losing confidence in myself. But I stayed motivated. I’m always motivated to get better. I tried to push myself more and more, and stay positive. That’s the biggest thing.”
His teammates were glad to see the return of the player who earned starts in his first collegiate game and most of the season, including the first 12 in league play.
“He knows he hasn’t been playing well,” said senior Scott Wood, who drained five 3-pointers and scored 17 points. “He’ll be the first one to admit it to you. But he’s working hard, and he’s getting back at it. Tonight gives him that confidence.
“He knows he’s a capable basketball player and that’s what we need from him.”
Freshman T.J. Warren added 13 points, junior point guard Lorenzo Brown 11 and junior C.J. Leslie 10 with nine rebounds. Senior Richard Howell had a game-high 10 rebounds.
“Rodney came out, he had a big game,” Brown said. “And that’s what he’s been waiting for for awhile now.”
The Wolfpack trailed only after the first basket, but never seized the killer instinct until Brown sparked a flurry midway the second half. He took a break before a television time-out near the eight-minute mark with the Wolfpack ahead by 18, then didn’t need to return as the lead grew to as much as 25.
“Anytime we’re in a stance and getting stops and we can get out in transition, we’re a good team,” Wood added, “especially Rodney, who is lethal in transition and can get out and get easy baskets.
“He asserted himself at the right times for us tonight. That’s what we need.”