Second half surge lifts NC State past UNCG, 79-52
RALEIGH, NC – A 14-4 run to open the second half broke the game open and propelled North Carolina State past UNC Greensboro, 79-52, in men's basketball action Sunday afternoon at the RBC Center.
Courtney Fells had a game-high 22 points to lead the Wolfpack (4-0). Ben McCauley had a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Tracy Smith came off the bench to score 14 points in 15 minutes of action.
Kendall Toney, a junior from Charlotte, NC, led UNCG (1-3) with 16 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Damian Eargle chipped in with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.
Mikko Koivisto was held without a three-pointer in the first half, but did manage to extend his streak midway through the second half. The junior from Vantaa, Finland now has at least one three-pointer in 28 consecutive games and 43 of the last 44. He finished the game with nine points.
"We didn't shoot the ball very well today," said UNCG coach Mike Dement. "Some of that was us, and some of that was their defense. We played pretty well – solidly and smart – the first 12-15 minutes of the game. But we missed some free throws and then at the end of the half we didn't play hard defensively at all.
"We only had seven turnovers for the first half and that was why we were hanging around. But there was a flurry of turnovers in there that led to their dunks and some easy buckets and that broke our back early, which seemed to carry over to the defensive end."
The Spartans had four of their 13 turnovers in the 14-4 run to open the second half as McCauley (six) and Fells (four) accounted for 10 of the 14 points.
The Wolfpack jumped out 7-2 to open the game, but UNCG settled down and took an 11-10 lead six minutes in on a reverse layup by Elhanan Bone. But that was UNCG's last points for more than four minutes as the Wolfpack rattled off seven straight points to regain the lead.
The Spartans, who have been hampered by turnovers in the early part of the season, were able to hang around for a while by limiting their miscues. However, a conventional three-point play by Dennis Horner gave NC State its first double-digit lead of the afternoon, 28-18, with 4:48 left before intermission.
That was the beginning of a 16-4 run that opened up a 17-point lead for NC State, but the Spartans scored the final six points of the half to head to the locker room still within striking distance at 39-28.
But the 14-4 run to open the second half gave the Wolfpack a 21-point advantage and they were on their way to their fourth straight win to open the season.
The Spartans return home to open Southern Conference play Thursday. UNCG will host The Citadel at Fleming Gymnasium. Game time is set for 7 pm.
NC STATE 79, UNCG 52
Kendall Toney 5-8 5-6 16; Damian Eargle 5-7 0-1 10; Mikko Koivisto 4-7 0-0 9; Montel Smith 3-9 1-3 7; Ben Stywall 2-10 1-6 5; Elhanan Bone 1-9 1-2 3; Pete Brown 0-2 2-2 2; Deangelo Jackson 0-0 0-0 0; Daniel Oliver 0-3 0-0 0; Landon Clement 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 20-59 10-20 52.
NC STATE (4-0)
Courtney Fells 9-13 3-4 22; Ben McCauley 8-12 1-3 17; Tracy Smith 7-11 0-0 14; Javier Gonzalez 4-7 0-0 9; Dennis Horner 2-7 1-1 5; Trevor Ferguson 2-9 0-0 5; Brandon Costner 1-7 1-4 4; Julius Mays 1-1 0-0 3; C.J. Williams 0-3 0-0 0; Simon Harris 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 34-72 6-12 79.
Halftime: NC State 39-28. 3-point goals--UNCG 2-15 (Kendall Toney 1-4; Mikko Koivisto 1-3; Montel Smith 0-1; Ben Stywall 0-1; Elhanan Bone 0-1; Daniel Oliver 0-2; Landon Clement 0-3), NC State 5-21 (Brandon Costner 1-3; Trevor Ferguson 1-7;Javier Gonzalez 1-2; Julius Mays 1-1; Courtney Fells 1-3; C.J. Williams 0-2; Simon Harris 0-1; Dennis orner 0-2). Fouled out--UNCG-Elhanan Bone, NC State-None. Rebounds--UNCG 37 (Kendall Toney 8), NC State 49 (Ben McCauley 15). Assists--UNCG 8 (Mikko Koivisto 4), NC State 22 (Javier Gonzalez 7). Total fouls--UNCG 14, NC State 17. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, NC State-None. A-12474
FREE THROWS: UNCG used its fourth different starting line-up of the season on Sunday... UNCG did a better job of taking care of the basketball on Sunday. The Spartans, who committed just two turnovers in the final 12 minutes at Central Arkansas – despite a final total of 23 for the night, committed just 13 against the Wolfpack. UNCG had three consecutive games of 20-plus turnovers to open the season – the first time the team had three straight games of 20 or more since January 2000... UNCG didn't help its cause at the foul line Sunday, shooting just 10-for-20. The Wolfpack also had a 49-37 advantage on the glass.
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