College hoops: N.C. State 77, Marquette 73
By Chris Jenkins
Associated PressMILWAUKEE ó Sidney Lowe’s halftime message to leading scorer Tracy Smith was simple but effective: play harder.
Lowe didn’t necessarily mean that Smith had to score more, although his two points certainly didn’t help as N.C. State fell behind by 11 points to Marquette at halftime.
“I told him he wasn’t playing hard enough,” Lowe said. “Real simple, that’s what I told him, he wasn’t playing hard enough. But he can handle that.”
Smith led a second-half surge by the Wolfpack, scoring 17 of his 19 points after halftime in a 77-73 victory over the Golden Eagles on Saturday.
“Coach told us we had to turn it up, just play hard,” Smith said. “That’s what we did in the second half.”
Smith was 9-for-14 from the floor and had a team-high 11 rebounds.
Javier Gonzalez scored 15 points and Dennis Horner added 13 for the Wolfpack (6-1). It shot 71.4 percent from the floor and went 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the second half to rebound from a loss to Northwestern on Thursday.
Jimmy Butler scored 19 points with 12 rebounds for Marquette (6-2).
The Golden Eagles couldn’t rally with a late flurry of 3-pointers. Marquette coach Buzz Williams roasted his team’s defense afterward.
“Arguably, the worst we’ve been since I’ve been here in the second half,” Williams said.
The Golden Eagles led 36-25 at halftime, but the Wolfpack held them scoreless for nearly four minutes on the way to a 16-4 run. N.C. State took the lead on a 3-pointer by Julius Mays with 13:26 left.
“I thought they were really good and we were really, really bad,” Williams said.
Marquette came back to take a one-point lead, but the Wolfpack put together a 17-2 run that included a 3-pointer and three-point play by Gonzalez and a thundering dunk by Smith to put N.C. State up 63-49 with 5:30 left.
The Golden Eagles tried to rally with back-to-back 3-pointers from David Cubillan and Maurice Acker, but Josh Davis answered with a dunk to put the Wolfpack ahead by 10 with 3:58 remaining.
Hot second-half shooting helped N.C. State forget about the Northwestern loss.
“We just came off of a ballgame where we had good looks and we didn’t shoot it well,” Lowe said. “We were hoping, hoping that we were going to knock some of those down.”
Farnold Degand scored six points in his first game this season. Lowe held Degand, a senior, out of the first six games because of academic reasons.
“He was always eligible to play,” Lowe said. “But there were some things that I wanted him to take care of academically. He’s done that and earned the right to play.”