Notebook: Pack, Eagles Battle in RBC

NC State (2-0) faces Winthrop (1-3) in the Wolfpack's first game in the RBC Center this season. Tip-off is set for 7:00 pm, and the game is not televised.

  • The Pack's first scheduled game in the RBC Center this season is not until November 25. NC State played its Red/White scrimmage then two exhibitions games in Reynolds Coliseum. NC State opened the season at New Orleans, and its Nov. 22 home contest against High Point was in Reynolds.
  • NC State has won all six previous matchups against Winthrop, last meeting in 1998-99.
  • NC State currently holds a 72-8 (.900) alltime record against non-conference foes at the RBC Center.
  • Brandon Costner, Courtney Fells and Ben McCauley are all within 213 points for 1,000 career points.
  • NC State won its 15th consecutive season opener with the win at New Orleans last weekend. The game also marked the first time since 2000-01 that NC State won its first road game of the season.
  • NC State returns three starters from last season (Brandon Costner, Courtney Fells and Javier Gonzalez) as well as Farnold Degand (10 starts) and Ben McCauley (15).
  • After starting the last two seasons, 66 games total, at shooting guard, Courtney Fells has moved to small forward for his senior season.
  • Point guard Farnold Degand and forward Johnny Thomas missed a combined 52 games last season. Each has been cleared to play for the start of this season.
  • When Degand went down last season, he started each of the first 10 games and led the Pack in three-point shooting percentage and assists, and the Pack had a 7-3 record.
  • Forwards Brandon Costner, Dennis Horner and Ben McCauley have each dropped at least 10 pounds over the offseason.

    NC State will finally play on its home court, as the Wolfpack plays host to Winthrop Tuesday night at the RBC Center. After starting the season with a road win at New Orleans, then defeating High Point in Reynolds Coliseum on Saturday, the Pack will play its first game of the season at the RBC Center.

    In fact, the Wolfpack has only taken the court at the RBC Center for a single practice, the day before the Winthrop game, since practice officially started in mid-October.

    Tuesday's game between the Wolfpack and the Eagles will be only the seventh meeting between the two schools. The schools first met in 1986- 87, and this will be the first game since the 1998-99 season.

    The Wolfpack leads the overall series 6-0, with all the wins coming on the Wolfpack's home court. The teams last met in December of 1998, with NC State winning 81-51.

    Courtney Fells tied his career high with 23 points, as NC State held down visiting High Point, 69-56, in Reynolds Coliseum Saturday night. The Panther's kept NC State's lead to just single digits until a 14-1 Pack run midway through the second half, with Fells scoring 10 of those points. Fells finished the game 7-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-5 from three-point range, and made all six of his free throws.

    The Pack's defense held High Point to just 29.6 percent (8-27) from the field in the second half.

    NC State's home court has not been welcoming to non-conference opponents since the RBC Center opened for the 1999-2000 season, as the Pack has posted a 72-8 (.900) record in such games.

    In Coach Lowe's first two seasons, the Pack has posted a 16-2 (.889) mark against non-conference opponents at home, losing only to No. 10 Alabama in 2007 and to New Orleans last year.

    NC State has been even more impressive at home against against non-conference opponents from the state of North Carolina. The Wolfpack has won the last 20 games against in-state non-conference foes at the RBC Center, and 28 of the last 29 overall, last losing in the 2000-01 season to Charlotte.

    After opening the season on the road for the first time since 1997, the Wolfpack will not have to leave the state of North Carolina until January. NC State is currently in a stretch of playing 9 of 10 games all at home, with the only road contest before the new year December 6 in Charlotte against Davidson.

    After missing all but 10 games last season with a torn ACL, junior point guard Farnold Degand has once again been hit with the injury bug early this season. Degand sat out the High Point win over the weekend, and is expected to miss about two weeks of action due to knee troubles. Degand had been limited since practice began in mid-October but played in each exhibition game and at New Orleans. The NC State coaches believe after a couple weeks of rest he will be able to return.

    With point guard Farnold Degand sidelined with a knee injury for the next couple of weeks, sophomore Javier Gonzalez fills a role he is quite famaliar with once again. After Degand went down 10 games into last season, it was Gonzalez as a freshman that served as the Pack's starting point guard for much of the remainder of the season.

    Gonzalez started the final 10 games of last season and 15 games overall during his rookie campiagn filling the void left by Degand. He was once again in the starting lineup against High Point, and hit a pair of second half three-pointers in a span of 61 seconds to help the Pack pull away.

    RACE TO 1,000
    A trio of Wolfpack players have the chance to do what only 40 other NC State basketball players have done before, score 1,000 career points. Seniors Courtney Fells and Ben McCauley and redshirt junior Brandon Costner made up the 2005 recruiting class for NC State, and all three have the chance to reach 1,000 career points during this season.

    Costner is currently the closest to that mark as he has 903 career points, followed by McCauley with 794 and Fells with 787.

    If all three players reach 1,000 points, it will mark only the second time in NC State history that three players from the same recruiting class all accomplished that feat (1983 - Thurl Bailey, Derek Whittenburg and Sidney Lowe). In fact, only nine times have a pair of players in the same recruting class each scored 1,000 point during their careers, the last were Ilian Evtimov and Julius Hodge from the 2002 class.

    In the season stats, the top four scorers for NC State are all either seniors or juniors. Two games into the year, 82.8 percent of the scoring has come from those two classes while the sophomores and freshmen make up just 14.2 percent of the scoring.

    The Pack's three most experienced players, Brandon Costner, Courtney Fells and Ben McCauley, all are averaging double figures. Fells leads the way at 16.0 ppg, followed closely by McCauley (14.5) and Costner (14.0).

    Redshirt junior Trevor Ferguson as been a spark off the Pack bench at shooting guard. Dating back to the end of last season, Ferguson has been hot over his last seven games. He has shot 57.7 percent (15-26) from three-point range, with at least one make in each contest, and has averaged 9.1 points a game in that span.

    So far this season, Ferguson is the top scoring option off the bench averaging 8.0 a contest. He has made 4-of-7 three-point attempts, and is also pulling down 4.5 boards a games. He leads the team in both field goal percentage (.667) and three-point field goal percentage (.571).

    Junior Brandon Costner is getting back into the groove in one of the top areas of his game, rebounding. Two games into the season, Costner has led the Pack in rebounding in each contest, averaging 8.0 an outing.

    Two seasons ago as a redshirt freshman, Costner led the squad with 7.3 boards a game, nine games in double digits, and pulled down a NCSU freshmen record 264 rebounds. Last season his numbers dipped, averaging 4.6 rebounds, and reaching double figures in just two games.

    Senior Courtney Fells is switching positions this season. After playing his first three years at mostly shooting guard, Fells will move to the wing and play more of a small forward this season.

    The move appears to be paying off, as Fells is currently leading the Pack in scoring at 16.0 points a game. In the win over High Point, Fells tied his career high with 23 points.

    NC State has now hit at least one three-pointer in 602 straight contests, a streak that dates back to the Wake Forest game on March 4, 1989. NC State currently has the second-longest consecutive streak in the ACC (Duke- 658).

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