College Basketball: N.C. State 76, WSSU 46
Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 13, 2008
RALEIGH ó With plenty of reasons to be negative, N.C. State found plenty of positives in its 74-46 victory over Winston-Salem State on Saturday.
In the middle of exams, playing before a small crowd at Reynolds Coliseum and missing two regulars, the Wolfpack had little trouble defeating the road-weary Rams. It was the largest margin of victory in coach Sidney Lowe’s tenure.
“We’ve got exams, people are going home (after) exams. … We kind of had to make our own energy,” said forward Ben McCauley, who led N.C. State with 14 points and nine rebounds. “Sure enough we did that. We came out hot, and from then on, we were good.”
The Wolfpack led 25-7, increased it to 40-20 at halftime and let the margin dip below 20 points just once in the second half. The margin grew quickly because the Wolfpack shot 63 percent (17 of 27) in the first half compared with 26.5 percent (9 of 34) for the Rams.
“We didn’t know how well we’d do because our guys are mentally and physically drained from staying up and studying for exams,” Lowe said. “I was happy with the energy we came out with.”
The Wolfpack (5-1) cruised despite the absence of swingman Courtney Fells (ankle) and guard Farnold Degand, who had worked his way back from an early injury but sat out Saturday for unspecified disciplinary reasons. Lowe declined to say if Degand would play Wednesday against East Carolina, but the coach liked the contributions he got from fill-in starters Trevor Ferguson and Simon Harris.
Ferguson scored a season-high 12 points, including nine in a row to help put away the Rams (1-7) in the second half.
“It’s a good thing when you can do that, when you have a guy like Trevor and a guy like Simon, who have experience and can be plugged in to the starting lineup,” Lowe said.
N.C. State, playing its first game since a loss to Davidson on Dec. 6, had 47 rebounds to 30 for the Rams, who were playing their eighth consecutive road game to start the season. Winston-Salem State has been outscored by 45, 25, 31 and 28 points against major conference opponents.
N.C. State’s 20-point halftime lead could have been bigger, if not for 10 turnovers.
“We were being careless,” McCauley said. “They were throwing a couple traps at us. We can’t have as many turnovers as we did. No offense to Winston-Salem State, but we can’t have as many turnovers against them, because when we get into conference play, who knows what’s going to happen. It’s one thing everyone has to work on, being solid with the ball.”
N.C. State shot 51.9 percent overall (28 of 54).