Pack downs Pirates on the road

Gavin Grant and Courtney Fells led the way as a resilient Wolfpack squad downed Seton Hall by a 79-73 score on Thursday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

Gavin Grant quietly went about his business for most of the game, content to let the offense flow through him as NC State traded baskets on the road at Seton Hall.

But as time winded down, Grant turned his game up. The senior scored the last seven points for the Pack, and 17 of his game-high 23 points in the final 12 minutes to help the Pack down the Pirates by a 79-73 on Thursday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

Courtney Fells set the tone early for the Pack by scoring all 17 of his points in the fist half. J.J. Hickson and Ben McCauley each scored in double figures, with 13 and 10 points respectively. Brandon Costner, a New Jersey native, didn't have a great night shooting the basketball but did grab 10 rebounds for the Pack (8-3), helping the team outrebound the Pirates (8-3) by a 40-25 margin.

Seton Hall's Eugene Harvey led the Pirates with 20 points, using his slashing style and transition game to get easy baskets. The Seton Hall press forced the Pack into careless giveaways for most of the night, leading to an up-and-down game that featured 12 lead changes. The win gives the Pack four straight victories as it heads into its last three non-conference games – all in the friendly confines of the RBC Center.

The Pack didn't look intimidated by the road environment at the start of the game, jumping out to an early lead over the Pirates as Costner and Hickson worked the low block for the Pack. Seton Hall responded with an 8-2 run to take a three-point lead around the midway point of the second half. The Pack struggled to hold onto the ball and to stop the Pirate's transition game as Seton Hall used its full-court press to take control of the game.

But State responded with its own 9-1 run to briefly take the lead behind two quick baskets from Courtney Fells. The Pirates would quickly regain the advantage as the turnovers piled up for the Pack, giving the ball away 11 times in the first 20 minutes. It looked as though Seton Hall would take a lead into the locker room, but the Pack put together a lightning quick 10-4 run at the end of the half highlighted by a monster one-handed jam from Fells in transition to give State a 35-32 advantage.

But the Pirates shut down Fells at the start of the second half, turning the game around and taking its biggest lead of the night by jumping out to a 50-44 lead. But the Pack regained momentum with a five point possession, as Grant scored a 3-point bucket and drew the foul. But Grant missed the free-throw and Ben McCauley followed up the miss with a lay-up to cut a six-point advantage to a point in a heartbeat.

The momentum shift helped the Pack regain the lead a few minutes later, as Hickson downed two free throws to give State a lead it would never relinquish. The defense packed in during the last few minutes, stopped giving the ball away and forced the Pirates into taking jump shots. Grant finished things off, putting home a pair of fast break buckets and draining his last six free throws as the Pack walked away with its first true road win of the season.

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