ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) " Abdul-Malik Abu scored 25 points, and North Carolina State pulled away in the second half to beat Montana 85-72 Friday in the opening day of the Paradise Jam tournament.
Dennis Smith Jr. added 21 points and Torin Dorn had 16 for the Wolfpack (3-0), who didn't overcome a pesky Grizzlies team until midway through the second half.
Montana (0-3) had battled with N.C. State, even leading 40-38 at the half in a game that had 10 ties and 14 lead changes. But the final lead change went the Wolfpack's way, thanks to a 12-2 run that put N.C. State in command.
"We had to dig down in the second half," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. "Defensively, we were a lot better in the second half. From the 15-16 minute mark down, we really defended really well."
The Wolfpack went on to lead by as many as 16 points, going up 77-61 with 2:31 remaining on Terry Henderson's 3-pointer.
Walter Wright had 22 points, Ahmaad Rorie 15 and Sayeed Pridgett 12 for the Grizzlies.
"We tried to do a little too much," Montana coach Travis DeCuire said. "We were playing well together on both sides of the ball, but they hit a stretch where they started hitting some tough shots.
We let some guys get going."
Montana: The Grizzlies are off to their worst start in coach Travis DeCuire's three seasons. Under DeCuire, Montana has gone 20-13 and 21-12.
N.C. State: Finally has a win over a team from the Big Sky - the only one of the 31 Division conferences the Wolfpack did not have a victory against. N.C. State was 0-1 against the conference all time, having lost to Weber State 94-80 in the 1993 Great Alaska Shootout.
Montana: Plays the loser of Friday night's Washington State-No. 22 Creighton game on Saturday.
N.C. State: Faces the Washington State-Creighton winner in the semifinals on Sunday.
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings