Already holding a nine-point advantage, the senior blew the game open by scoring 12 of the Pack's 16 points during a stretch in the second half that included two steals and two thundering dunks. Fells finished with 23 as the Pack recovered from early struggles to blow out High Point University 69-56 on Saturday night at Reynolds Coliseum.
"What you saw tonight is what he's capable of doing," coach Sidney Lowe said. "He saw that we didn't have it going and he ignited it. He got it going for us and got the crowd back in it again and got our guys excited."
The crowd was a bit more hostile than the Wolfpack expected, as several hundred High Point students and fans filled one section of the stadium and made their presence known.
"It just seemed like it was flat out there to me," Fells said. "After I scored I just wanted to get everybody into the game. Their fans, they were deep with fans. I was very surprised and I wanted our fans to out-loud them."
Only one other player scored in double figures for the Pack, as Ben McCauley scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Brandon Costner struggled a bit from the field shooting just 2-of-8 but just missed a double-double with nine points and nine boards. The Pack shot just 43 percent from the floor but did hit on 9-of-20 from behind the arc.
The Pack played without the services of its starting point guard Farnold Degand, who is sidelined with soreness in his knee as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered in December of last season. Lowe said the timeline for Degand remains at a little under two weeks.
"He has gotten to the point where he is not feeling any pain at all and that's where he wants to be," Lowe said. "Now we need to give that some time where he can go maybe four or five days with no pain."
The Pack jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead to start the game but things began to unravel when Lowe put in his second five off the bench after the first five minutes. The second unit struggled, consisting of Julius Mays, Simon Harris, Trevor Ferguson, Dennis Horner and Tracy Smith, allowing High Point to take a 21-17 lead before Lowe put the starters back in the game.
McCauley sparked the sluggish Wolfpack, scoring six straight points as the Pack regained control of the game. Fells led all scorers with 11 in the half while freshman Mays, who played most of the half with Javi Gonzalez in foul trouble, had three first-half assists as the Pack opened up a 36-29 lead at the break.
"He was solid, Julius was solid," Lowe said. "Just ran the show, took care of the basketball. He did what we feel he's capable of doing."
The biggest cheers of the half were reserved for the football team, however, as several members of the squad including Russell Wilson made an appearance at the game following the team's win over North Carolina earlier in the day.
"I was clapping while I was on the bench," Lowe said. "I was still into the game but you have to acknowledge a win like that. That was just outstanding."
The Pack put together a much better defensive effort in the second half, as High Point shot under 30 percent for the half. A couple of late 3-pointers skewed the final score however, as the Wolfpack held a 20-point lead for a good chunk of time in the second half. The Pack will play its first game at the RBC Center on Tuesday night against Winthrop.