ACC Basketball: N.C. State 79, UNC Greensboro 52

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 30, 2008

Associated PressRALEIGH ó Ben McCauley is looking to rebound from a disappointing junior season. To accomplish that, he has turned his focus to rebounding missed shots.
McCauley scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds to lead North Carolina State past North Carolina-Greensboro 79-52 on Sunday.
“Ben was big on those boards,” said N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe. “It just makes such a huge difference for our team when our bigs are controlling that. Ben has been playing great basketball.”
N.C. State outrebounded the Spartans 49-37.
Courtney Fells scored 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting to lead the Wolfpack (4-0), who pulled away with a 16-4 run near the end of the first half and opened the second half with another 16-4 spurt. Tracy Smith scored 14 points for N.C. State, which shot 52.8 percent from the floor in the second half.
McCauley, who tallied 15 points and 11 rebounds in N.C. States 74-48 win over Winthrop on Tuesday, posted his second double-double in a row after delivering no such performances as a junior.
McCauleys minutes declined last season with the addition of J.J. Hickson to the Wolfpacks roster, and his scoring and rebounding decreased. But with Hickson now in the NBA, McCauleys production has returned to the level he enjoyed in 2006-07.
“Its good,” said the 6-foot-9 McCauley, who is averaging 14.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. “It feels a little bit like my sophomore year, where Im just working inside and busting my butt.”
Javier Gonzalez tallied nine points and seven assists to help the Wolfpack win their 22nd consecutive non-conference home game against in-state competition. Gonzalez filled in again for starting point guard Farnold Degand, who has missed three consecutive games after feeling discomfort in his surgically repaired knee.
Lowe said Degand could have played against the Spartans, but the coach wanted to make sure his point guard would be ready for Saturdays game at No. 24 Davidson.
“Now he can get another day of rest and therapy,” Lowe said. “Hes ready to go, though.”
Kendall Toney led UNC Greensboro (1-3), which trailed 39-28 at halftime, with 16 points. Damian Eargle added 10 points for the Spartans, who shot 33.5 percent (20 of 59) from the field and missed 10 of 20 from the free-throw line.
The Spartans led just once, at 11-10 with 14 minutes remaining in the first half. The Wolfpack answered with a 7-0 run and never led by fewer than five points the rest of the way.
McCauley and Smith combined to make 15 of 23 shot attempts inside, offsetting poor shooting games on the perimeter by teammates Brandon Costner and Trevor Ferguson.
“I knew we could get the ball inside,” Lowe said. “I was hoping to establish something in there, and when you do, you continue to take whats there.”
The Wolfpack stayed with that strategy in the second half, making five layups in the first 61/2 minutes. NC-Greensboro coach Mike Dement called three timeouts during that span to try to stop the Wolfpacks momentum, but N.C. State kept extending its lead.
“We certainly didnt shoot the ball very well, especially in the second half,” said Dement, whose team shot 29 percent after halftime. “That had a lot to do with their defense and shot-blocking.”