Pack Breezes Past Wildcats, 94-65

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The N.C. State basketball team ran away with a 94-65 win over Fort Valley State Thursday night in front of a Reynolds Coliseum crowd eager to see the team's first exhibition game and a hopeful glimpse of redemption for a team that finished last in the ACC last season.

The Wolfpack did not disappoint.

Courtney Fells led a balanced scoring attack with 21 points, scoring 15 in the first half to give the Pack a blowout win that even allowed some unfamiliar faced to see the court by the game's end.

Coach Sidney Lowe started Javi Gonzalez, freshman C.J. Williams, Courtney Fells, Brandon Costner, and Ben McCauley in the contest. About five minutes into the game, Lowe ordered in a new five-man team consisting of Farnold Degand, Trevor Ferguson, Johnny Thomas, Dennis Horner, and Tracy Smith.

The crowd became silent when Johnny Thomas, a redshirt freshman who missed all of last season with a knee injury, fell to the ground and was helped to the locker room with less than four minutes remaining in the first half.

Thomas would not return to action, but N.C. State Media Relations confirmed that the injury was only a left ankle sprain. Lowe said he is unsure when Thomas will return.

The Pack took a 50-32 lead into halftime, and didn't look back in the second half. State forced 27 Fort Valley State turnovers in the contest and converted many of them into dunks and easy baskets on the offensive end, constantly looking to push the ball in transition.

According to Lowe, the team's greatest need for improvement is in rebounding, as FVSU earned a 39-35 rebounding advantage in the contest.

Ben McCauley added 12 points in the game, but the crowd seemed most excited with the second half performances of Trevor Ferguson and Simon Harris. Ferguson scored nine points on three three-pointers in the second half and Harris also added nine points, including one rim-shaking dunk, in only 11 minutes of play.

The team's final exhibition will be against Catawba in Reynolds Coliseum on Nov. 12.

N.C. State Scoring: Fells 21; McCauley 12; Smith 10; Harris 9; Ferguson 9; Williams 8; Horner 7; Costner 7; Degand 5; Gonzalez 4; Thomas 2

N.C. State Rebounding Leaders: Harris 7; Horner 6; McCauley 5

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