RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) BeeJay Anya provided North Carolina State with the physical edge it desperately needed against Tennessee State, while coach Mark Gottfried said his team showed some defensive improvement after several shaky outings.
The Wolfpack needed every bit of it, too, to beat Tennessee State.
Anya had 12 points, a career-high 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots to help the Wolfpack beat the Tigers 67-55 in overtime on Saturday in the program's annual return to its former campus home - a newly renovated Reynolds Coliseum.
''I'm not sure we'd have won this game two or three weeks ago,'' Gottfried said.
Terry Henderson scored 21 points to lead N.C. State (7-2), including a banked-in 3-pointer with 2:57 left in the extra period that put the Wolfpack ahead for good in a 14-0 game-closing run. N.C. State had allowed teams to shoot 45 percent coming in, but held Tennessee State (7-2) to 32 percent for the game - including an 8-minute scoreless stretch that helped the Wolfpack rally from a 38-30 second-half deficit with a heavy dose of zone defense.
Anya, a 6-foot-9, 320-pound senior, was big in that effort with his work in the paint. He also did it while playing a career-high 38 minutes.
''They kind of came in here and thought they could punk us,'' Anya said. ''I ain't no punk, so that's one thing they ain't going to do to me. So I came in and heard them talking and it got me going.''
Anya had managed a total of eight points, 11 rebounds and four blocks in his previous five games.
''The guy affected the game in just about every way,'' Gottfried said.
''My guys fought really hard,'' Tennessee State coach Dana Ford said. ''I really believed they deserved to win the game.''
Tennessee State: The Tigers gave their power-conference foe fits with their athleticism and toughness, controlling the glass much of the game while making the Wolfpack work for shots. Still, Tennessee State fell to 0-15 against Atlantic Coast Conference teams.
N.C. State: Put simply, this is still a young group trying to figure things out. The Wolfpack didn't shoot well, had trouble getting good looks and missed too many free throws, though the strong finish was a good sign for Gottfried.
''I thought we took a major step this week with our defense,'' Gottfried said. ''Now we left our offense somewhere else, but defensively we got better.''
Tennessee State: The Tigers finished with a 48-45 rebounding advantage. ... Tennessee State finished with 18 turnovers. ... Jordan Reed had 10 rebounds. ... McCall finished with 10 points.
N.C. State: Maverick Rowan (concussion) played 12 minutes and scored two points in his first game since the opener. ... N.C. State shot 35 percent but scored 18 second-chance points. ... The Wolfpack scored 20 points off turnovers. ... N.C. State made 23 of 36 free throws (64 percent), including 6 of 7 in OT.
Wolfpack point guard Dennis Smith Jr. finished with 19 points and came up with several big plays. First he hit a tough fading shot to tie it at 50 with 46.4 seconds left in regulation, then he came up with a key three-point play with 58.5 seconds left before adding a punctuating windmill breakaway dunk to cap a game-closing run.
Tennessee State: The Tigers return home to host Alabama State on Wednesday night.
N.C. State: N.C. State hosts Appalachian State on Thursday night, a game headlined by the debut of five-star freshman Omer Yurtseven. The NCAA required the Turkish 7-footer to sit his first nine games after examining his amateur status following an overseas career.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.