Gameday: NC State vs. Gardner-Webb

NC State (3-0) faces Gardner-Webb (0-2) tonight at 7:00 in the RBC Center.

Location: RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

Tip-Off: 7:00 p.m.

Television: None

Radio: Airtime begins @ 6:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network

NC State Information


    Gardner-Webb Information


    NC State Projected Starting Line-up
    G- 14 Engin Atsur
    G- 04 Courtney Fells
    G- 11 Gavin Grant
    F- 33 Brandon Costner
    F- 34 Ben McCauley

    Gardner-Webb Projected Starting Line-up
    23 Ricky McPhee
    30 Chris Cash
    24 Takayo Siddle
    12 Jake Sims
    42 Auryn MacMillan

    Players to Watch
    NC State
    Gavin Grant --
    Grant is coming off a 25-point, 12-rebound outing against Valparaiso where he dominated the game.

    Ricky McPhee --
    McPhee leads Gardner-Webb in scoring, as he's averaging 12.5 points per game.

    NC State Game Notes
    NC State has used a balanced scoring attack among its five starters to open the season 3-0. All five starters are averaging double figures, and three different players have been the high scorer in the three games thus far. In addition, four different players have scored at least 20 points in a game this season. About the only thing unbalanced about the team scoring this year is the difference between the starters and the bench.

    The Pack's five starters have accounted for 91% of the scoring, while the reserves have chipped in with 9%.

    While most of the country is settling down for some time off, the NC State men's basketball team is in the middle of playing four games in 11 days. The busy streak started last Friday night against Delaware State, and continues this week with a Tuesday night game versus Valparaiso, a Friday night contest against Gardner-Webb and then next Monday's contest against Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

    The Pack has started its stretch off in good form, with a 20 point win over Delaware State and a 14 point defeat of Valparaiso.

    After having the first game of the season come down to the final minute before pulling out the win, NC State has cruised to victory in each of the last two contests. On Tuesday night, NC State led by as many as 29 points in the second half, and defeated Valpo 78-64. Against Delaware State, the Pack shot 63.4% from the field in the 63-43 win. NC State has used strong defense in the last two wins. The Pack held Delaware State and Valpo to a combined 38-of-107 (35.5 percent) from the field, and forced 13 turnovers in each game.

    Junior Gavin Grant had his best career game in the win over Valpo on Tuesday. Grant set new career highs with 25 points and 12 rebounds. The game marked his second career double-double. Grant currently leads the Pack with 17.3 points a game, and 36.0 minutes.

    It wasn't pretty, but it counts as a "W" on the statsheet. After trailing Wofford by nine points (45-54) at the half, the feisty Wolfpack mounted a ferocious comeback, cutting the margin to one just two minutes and 22 seconds into the second frame. The Wolfpack shot over 54% from the field in both halves, but allowed the Terriers to shoot a blazing 66% in the first half, including an 11-19 performance from behind the three-point arc. NC State held the Terriers to 35% shooting after the break. Offensively, leading scorer Ben McCauley scored 17 of his 26 points after the break.

    Not only is senior guard Engin Atsür the most experienced player on the 2006-07 Wolfpack squad, but he could finish his career ranked as the most experienced player in school history. Atsür has now started 93 games during his career, tied as the 12th-best mark in school history. With the start against Valpo on Tuesday, he passed his current head coach, Sidney Lowe, on the career list. Atsür needs just eight more starts to move into the top five in school history. His former teammate Julius Hodge holds the school record with 125 career starts. At one point in his career, Atsür had started 78 consecutive games before missing a start last season after being late to a meeting. He has been a regular in the Wolfpack starting lineup since the ninth game of his freshman campaign. With 3,133 career minutes in 98 games under his belt, Atsür has averaged 32.0 minutes per contest for his career. If he averages even close to that amount as a senior, he will move way up the list in that category as well.

    Much has been written and said about the Wolfpack's frontcourt (or lack thereof) heading into the 2006-07 campaign. But sophomore Ben McCauley, who is pencilled in to take on most of the work down low, has gotten off to a good start offensively in the first two games.

    McCauley, who scored just 58 total points in his 27 games last season, led both teams in scoring in his first outing as a starter against Wofford, contributing 26 points on 10-13 shooting from the field, 6-9 from the charity stripe. He shot 6-7 from the field after the halftime break, leading the Pack to victory after being nine points down. For the season, he's averaging 12.3 points. But even more impressive, especially considering his position, is that McCauley is tied as Wolfpack's assist leader after three games - averaging a whopping 4.7 per contest.

    Sidney Lowe has emphasized the importance of 'making the extra pass' to his team all season - advice that McCauley has definitely heeded.

    Brandon Costner's freshman campaign did not go anything like he had planned. After playing in just five games, the forward was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his upper leg, and ended up receiving a medical hardship. The good news is that Costner has four years of eligibility remaining and seems to be injury-free as the season opens. He was the game's leading scorer against Delaware State, chipping in 20 points on 8-12 shooting, and chipped in with 17 in the win over Valpo. For the season, he is second on the Pack at 16.0 ppg.

    Costner leads the team in rebounding after three contests with an average of 6.7 and outing Costner struggled shooting the ball in the two exhibition games (4-16), but was the Pack's leading rebounder - averaging 9.5 per contest. In the season opener, he scored 11 points and pulled down six rebounds.

    The Wolfpack will see its first ACC action on December 3, when Sidney Lowe's squad travels to Virginia to compete in the first league game to be played in the Cavaliers' new arena. This year will mark the earliest NC State has started conference play since the 1967-68 campaign (that year, Norm Sloan's squad played Wake Forest on Dec. 2).

    NC State did play against conference teams as early as December 1 in the 1970s, but those games were part of the Big Four Tournament, which did not count into the teams' league records.

    NC State should have a fairly consistent starting lineup this season, as there isn't a lot of depth on the Wolfpack bench. The Wolfpack's starting five consists of one senior, one junior, two sophomores and one (redshirt) freshman. In the first two games, the scoring has been fairly spread out as well, with 22% coming from seniors , 22% from juniors, 30% from sophomores and 27% from freshmen.

    The Wolfpack will play the first night of this seasons ACC/Big Ten Challenge, as the Michigan Wolverines come to the RBC Center on Monday, Nov. 27. NC State has posted a 4-3 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge since 1999-2000. The Wolfpack has won all three of its home games in the challenge and has gone 1-3 on the road, including a win at 19th-ranked Purdue in 1999-2000. The Wolfpack has allowed just 58.8 points per game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

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