State Cruises Past Barton, 94-57

RALEIGH, N.C. -- State used a balanced attack featuring five players in double-digits to blast reigning Division II champion Barton College, 94-57, in the exhibition opener on Thursday night at the RBC Center.

  • State Cruises Past Barton, 94-57
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    Brandon Costner put up 17 points in the first half on his way to a game-high 22 for the evening, adding six rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in just 25 minutes. He was joined in double-figures by teammates Courtney Fells (16), Gavin Grant (14), J.J. Hickson (11) and Tracy Smith (11).

    After posting a 20-point halftime lead, 47-27, the Wolfpack shot a scintillating 68 percent (17-25) in the final minutes to roll to the 37-point victory. The Pack used good ball movement, pounding the ball inside repeatedly against a Barton squad that featured no player taller than 6-6. State handed out 26 assists with just 13 turnovers, while the visitors had just 10 assists to 20 turnovers. The Wolfpack wound up shooting 58.6 percent (34-58) while limiting Barton to 37.7 percent (23-61).

    The Pack jumped out to a commanding 28-6 lead in front of an impressive crowd for an exhibition game. A small but vocal blue-clad contingent of Barton College supporters loudly urged on the visiting squad, but the defending champs could not deal with Costner and Smith, who knocked down all four of his first-half shots on his way to nine points. Fells had a nice all-around performance in the first 20 minutes, recording nine points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. Newcomer Farnold Degand impressed in his first outing, posting five assists against a sole turnover in the opening half. The quick point guard finished up with eight points, six assists, two rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal, with just two turnovers, in 28 minutes. Degand drilled all six of his free-throw attempts, in addition to showcasing impressive speed that will occasionally need to be slowed down. Coach Sidney Lowe said that Degand outran his teammates down the court at times, turning possible 4-on-1 opportunities into less-ideal one-on-one chances.

    Ben McCauley played just 21 minutes, but he made the most of his time on the court, ending up with six points, four boards, five assists and a steal, hitting all three of his shot attempts. Trevor Ferguson served as Degand's backup, notching two points, two assists and a turnover in 16 minutes of action, while Dennis Horner backed up Fells, registering four points, one rebound, three assists, a blocked shot, a steal and zero turnovers in 13 minutes.

    Hickson admittedly rushed his shots in the early going. After his first attempt was resoundly swatted away by a weak-side defender, Hickson misfired on another shot before taking a transition pass from Horner and throwing down an emphatic two-handed jam while being fouled. Later on, he took an alley-oop pass from Horner and deftly laid it in on the break while falling out of bounds. The big man finished 5-of-10 from the floor and 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, adding five caroms and three steals in 17 minutes of action.

    Following the contest, Lowe expressed concern about his team's inability to stop dribble penetration, in addition to struggles keeping the feisty Barton team off the boards. Barton corralled 16 offensive rebounds, leading Lowe to suggest that his club would use the experience against a smaller team as a learning tool. He said that the Pack's bigger players occasionally allowed the smaller Barton frontcourt players to simply run around their box-outs, giving them a lesson on moving their feet against shorter, quicker athletes.

    After snapping Barton's 21-game winning streak, NC State will next face UNC-Pembroke at the RBC Center on November 6 at 7 p.m.

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