Burleson Shines in 104-72 victory over UNCC
Jan. 19, 1974
BY TIM PEELER
RALEIGH, N.C. With another opponent with UNC on its jerseys just three days away, NC State coach Norm Sloan was a little worried about how his team would play against UNC Charlotte Saturday night at Reynolds Coliseum.
He shouldn’t have been.
The Wolfpack blitzed the visiting 49ers in front of 12,200 fans, who were thrilled with something they had never really seen before: 7-foot-4 senior center Tommy Burleson handling the ball and lead the third-ranked Wolfpack on multiple fast breaks.
On one play, the lanky All-America even went coast-to-coast, stealing the ball away from a UNCC player and dribbling the ball the entire length of the floor for an easy layup, as the Wolfpack piled up as much as a 40-point lead against its across-the-state neighbor.
“He looked awfully good tonight,” Sloan said in an understatement.
Burleson finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds in just 29 minutes of play. Junior guard Moe Rivers, returning from a one-game suspension for missing a team curfew, made a triumphant return to the starting lineup, hitting eight of his 10 shots for 16 points.
Junior forward David Thompson added 16 and nine rebounds and sophomore forward Phil Spence came off the bench to contribute 11 points. Sloan eventually cleared his bench and let all 17 players on the roster see action in the non-conference contest.
Thompson, the ACC’s leading scorer at 25 points per game, had an off shooting night, making just six of his 14 shots. But he limited UNCC’s top scorer Robert Earl Blue to just 11 points.
Sloan wasn’t thrilled at the lackadaisical nature of his team’s effort. He will expect much more when the Wolfpack (11-1 overall, 3-0 ACC) travels to Chapel Hill on Tuesday to face North Carolina at Carmichael Auditorium.
“It was much like some of our earlier games,” Sloan said. “We were very ragged. We had some good moments, some average moments and some mediocre moments.
“It always worries me about playing a non-conference game when you have a game with Carolina coming up on Tuesday. There’s always the danger of looking past an opponent.”
But the Wolfpack has been particularly sharp over the last two weeks, recording wins over Carolina and Wake Forest in the Big Four Tournament and conference victories over Clemson, Maryland and Virginia.
The game’s biggest question became whether or not the Wolfpack would top the century mark for the first time this season. That happened with 2:58 remaining on the clock when freshman Bill Lake hit a jumper from the corner.
You may contact Tim Peeler at email@example.com.