Tyler Lewis played the best game of his short college basketball career Saturday with a heavy heart. Less than 24 hours before the Wolfpack’s crucial game against Miami tipped off, the freshman point guard from Statesville learned of his grandmother Margie’s passing.
“I just played for her,” Lewis said. “She did a lot for me. I just wanted to show the strength I had for her and what she meant to the family.”
Margie Lewis was 83. Rick Lewis said his son spoke with his grandmother every day on the phone while she was in the hospital. That included the day she died.
“I didn’t get the chance to see her since Christmas,” Lewis said. “I wanted to see her, but I didn’t get the opportunity.”
Instead, Lewis honored his grandmother Saturday. He came off the bench and played 36 minutes against the Hurricanes. He scored a season-high 16 points and dished out five assists in a 79-78 loss.
Lewis made a nice no-look pass to Richard Howell for a basket that started a 10-2 run in the first half. He also made a left-handed floater in the lane to give the Wolfpack a 53-44 lead with 13 minutes left in the game.
Lewis said his grandmother was not on his mind Saturday once he stepped on the court. The two hours he spent on the court Saturday in Raleigh also provided a lift to Rick and Clennon Lewis, Tyler’s grandfather.
“My dad and I sat here and watched,” Rick Lewis said. “Once players get out on the court, it’s sort of a relief valve.”