Pack dominates UNC Greensboro, 79-52

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Ben McCauley recorded his second-straight double-double with 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds as NC State rolled past UNC Greensboro 79-52 on Sunday afternoon at the RBC Center.

Already holding an 11-point lead at the half, head coach Sidney Lowe wasn't satisfied with his team's defensive performance in the first 20 minutes.

"[Coach] said he wanted 100 percent energy on defense in the second half and we are guaranteed to beat them by 20," sophomore Tracy Smith said.

Lowe was right, as the Pack responded to his message by coming out of the locker room with a 16-4 run that put away visiting UNC Greensboro. Defense keyed the run, as the Pack forced the Spartans into bad shots and made a couple of steals that led to break-away lay-ups. The Pack would roll from there, cruising to a 79-52 win on Sunday afternoon at the RBC Center.

"[Defense] was the key for us," senior Courtney Fells said. "That right there helped separate us, helped us get a big lead because we took away what they wanted to do with a little ball denial and it led to easy transition."

Fells led the way on offense for the Pack, scoring 22 points as two other players scored in double figures. Ben McCauley recorded his second-straight double-double and was dominant inside with 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Smith scored in double figures off the bench for the second-straight game as well with 14 points.

"Tracy is really coming on well for us," McCauley said. "That's just a continuation of our offense really. Our guards are getting the ball inside and we are one-on-one we have a great opportunity to score. The fact that we have one-on-one is the that our outside guys are shooting so well lately."

The win moves the Pack to a perfect 4-0 on the season but Lowe's team will face its toughest test next Saturday afternoon, when it travels to Charlotte to face No. 24 Davidson. The Pack beat the Wildcats last season at the RBC Center on a pair of free throws by Gavin Grant with three seconds left in the game.

Farnold Degand, who has missed the Pack's last three games after soreness in his surgically repaired left knee, dressed for the game and participated in warm-ups but did not play. Lowe hopes to have his senior point guard ready for the Pack's match-up with the Wildcats next weekend.

"I thought about putting [Degand] in late in the game just to get him some contact going down to Davidson but the other side of it is that I didn't want to put him in there and something happens," Lowe said. "Now he can get another day of rest and therapy – but he's ready to go."

The Pack struggled on offensive out of the gate, as the Spartans hung around for most of the first half. Tracey Smith helped lift the Pack with eight straight points off the bench as the team briefly built a 16 points lead only to watch Greensboro claw back to 39-28 at the half. Fells led all scorers in the first half with 11 points as the Pack shot just 3-of-13 from behind the arc but limited the Spartans to an even more abysmal 1-for-6 in the first 20 minutes.

But the Pack came out of the locker room with a renewed purpose, running over the Spartans to the tune of a 16-4 run that ended any doubt about the outcome. Fells and McCauley were at the heart of the run, scoring the first 10 points of the half for the Pack. It's the second-straight 20-point victory for the Wolfpack, who haven't won back-to-back games by that margin since December of 2005.

"We're more together. If we are on the bench we are rooting for our guys head over heels," McCauley said. "That's great because guys on the floor they want to hear that from guys on the bench."

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