Updated at: 12/08/2012 2:05 PM
By AARON BEARD
(AP) RALEIGH, N.C. - Richard Howell had 17 points and 10 rebounds to help No. 25 North Carolina State beat Cleveland State 80-63 on Saturday in its annual return to Reynolds Coliseum.
C.J. Leslie scored a team-high 19 for the Wolfpack (6-2), who shot 55 percent and led by double figures most of the afternoon. Freshman T.J. Warren added 16 points, part of a balanced offensive showing for N.C. State.
Reynolds was the Wolfpack’s home for 50 years before the program moved off campus to PNC Arena for the 1999-2000 season. But the school has typically played at least one game a year at Reynolds for the past decade as a nod to the program’s tradition.
N.C. State improved to 14-0 in the building since its move.
Charlie Lee scored 15 to lead the Vikings (6-3), who got no closer than 10 points after halftime.
Cleveland State, a Horizon League program, played its third straight game without preseason all-conference pick Anton Grady. The 6-foot-8 sophomore is expected to miss at least four weeks because of a knee injury sustained against Robert Morris on Nov. 20.
His absence made it tougher for the Vikings to match up inside with Leslie and Howell.
Howell, a 6-8 senior, finished 7-for-11 from the field and posted his third double-double in four games. Leslie, a 6-9 junior, finished 7-for-8 from the field to go with eight rebounds.
Warren added two 3-pointers, the second to beat the shot clock and push the Wolfpack’s lead to 73-55 with 4:44 left.
N.C. State was coming off a 69-65 win against Connecticut in Madison Square Garden for the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night, capping a demanding first few weeks for the preseason Atlantic Coast Conference favorite.
The Wolfpack lost to Oklahoma State in the Puerto Rico Tipoff championship, then lost at Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. But things should get considerably easier with N.C. State starting a six-game homestand Saturday that will keep it in Raleigh until 2013.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)