Dorn's career-high 26 propels Wolfpack to 3rd straight win

NC State's Torin Dorn soars in for two of his career-best 26 points on Tuesday against Bryant University. (Charlie Mickens)

Torin Dorn tied a career-high with 26 points to help North Carolina State beat Bryant 95-72 on Tuesday night.

Lennard Freeman added a career-high 20 points and Allerik Freeman had 15 for the Wolfpack (3-0), who rallied from a 12-point deficit early in the first half.

"What a good night for us because I think we learned a lot from tonight," Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said. "We had some adversity early where I thought Bryant came out and did a great job pushing the pace and made some shots early, and we got behind. I've been telling these guys all along that in order to be a great pressing team, you've got to have some come-from-behind victories."

Markell Johnson had 10 points and a career-high 11 assists for N.C. State, and Darius Hicks scored a career-high 10 points.

"I feel like when I first took the job, (Dorn) was someone who could be really special in the system because he's got the ability to score inside and out," Keatts said. "I thought he did a really good job kind of mixing this game up. He was very aggressive getting to the paint, finishing around the rim, and I thought he had a really good game. He was effective in every way, got some deflections, did a great job on the defensive end."

Dorn said the team's playing style is well-suited for his game.

"It fits me a lot," Dorn said. "I think I can drive and attack and get to the basket and just play aggressive. The space, the floor being so open, it creates a lot of space, a lot of driving lanes."

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Adam Grant scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half to lead Bryant (0-2). Ryan Layman added 14 points, Sabastian Townes had 13, and Bosko Kostur had 11 for the Bulldogs.

Bryant began the game 9 for 9 from the field, including three 3-pointers, on its way to a 21-10 lead, but the Wolfpack answered with a 13-0 spurt and never trailed again.

"I honestly don't know why we came out sluggish, really," Hicks said. "When we started picking it up on defense and started making little plays and 50-50 balls, that really got us energetic and got us in the game."

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Braxton Beverly scored two points in his Wolfpack debut. The NCAA cleared Beverly to play immediately shortly before tipoff after reconsidering an ineligibility ruling tied to summer courses the freshman took at Ohio State.

BIG PICTURE

Bryant: The Bulldogs weren't good enough to hang with N.C. State for 40 minutes, but they showed how formidable they can be at their best. Their onslaught from the opening tip sapped the energy from the building before they wilted against the Wolfpack's full-court press.

N.C. State: Say this for the Wolfpack: They never panicked. Even after giving up a couple of layups in the opening minutes, N.C. State stayed with its pressure defense and erased Bryant's lead more quickly than the Bulldogs built it. The Wolfpack have yet to be tested, opening their season with three consecutive 20-point wins for the first time since 2004.

The Pack also played a third consecutive game without Malik Abu.

"Malik's coming along," Keatts said. "We're still running. We're taking shots with him now. He's starting to move a little bit (more) effective. I don't have a time frame for when he's going to play, but he is getting better."

UP NEXT

Bryant plays its home opener against Navy on Saturday before hitting the road for seven of its next eight games.

N.C. State wraps up its season-opening four-game homestand on Thursday against Presbyterian.

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(Copyright ©2017 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.)