"I don't know what he was thinking trying to dunk like that – he's not that athletic," Mays said
It was easy to joke about with the Pack up nearly 20 points, as they dispatched an over-matched Lipscomb team 78-58 for the team's third-straight at the RBC Center. The Pack (7-1) will face a much stiffer test on Monday, as it plays its second ranked team of the year when No. 24 Marquette visits Raleigh.
The 1974 national championship team will also be honored on Monday as the university celebrates the 35th anniversary of its first basketball national championship. The 1974 team dispatched Marquette in the final game of the NCAA Tournament that year to capture the title.
"I'm a firm believer in taking care of the former players here and the Wolfpack family and I wanted to do something special for these guys," head coach Sidney Lowe said.
Courtney Fells saw his first action since the Davidson game, midway through the first half and seeing just six minutes total in the game. Lowe said he wanted to give Fells some game action prior to the team's match up with Marquette on Monday.
"We just wanted to get him a little touch and let him get some contact," Lowe said.
Javi Gonzalez did not play after suffering a bizarre elbow injury against East Carolina. Gonzalez elbowed East Carolina's Brock Young in the mouth in the game, and badly cut his elbow on the teeth of the opposing point guard. The cut became infected over the last few days and his status is uncertain for Monday's contest.
"The cut was so deep it was down to the bone so they had to clean it out a little bit," Lowe said. "That irritated it a little so now its swollen. [Gonzalez] was trying to move it around a little bit today but we aren't sure if he's going to practice tomorrow or play on Monday."
Trevor Ferguson led the Pack with 14 points thanks to a 4-for-8 mark from behind the 3-point arc during the game. Brandon Costner added 13 points and eight rebounds while Ben McCauley also scored in double figures with 11 points and nine rebounds. Julius Mays, making his first start of his NC State career, finished with nine points, seven assists and no turnovers.
"I found out right before we went out – coach Lowe pulled me to the side and told me I was going to start. He said just be ready to lead my team, go out there and distribute the ball and don't give up any turnovers."
The Pack opened the game flat as a thin crowd added to a lifeless feeling in the arena. The Pack didn't help matters much by allowing the Bisons to take a 16-14 lead around the halfway mark of the half. That appeared to wake up the home team however, as they ripped off a 23-4 run at that point to stretch the lead well over double-digits. Costner led a balanced scoring attack in the half with 10 points, but eight different players recorded at least two points in the half. The Pack defense did its job as well, forcing the Bisons to shot under 30 percent in the half as it took a 37-25 lead into the locker room.
A barrage of 3-pointers to open the second half helped the Pack open its lead up to as much as 20 points before Lipscomb battled back. Ferguson scored nine straight points for the Pack at one point in the half, all 3-pointers from nearly the same spot on the court next to the NC State bench. The Pack won easily despite its worst free-throw shooting in a long time, shooting just 8-for-16 from the chairty stripe.
"Coming into the game we thought they were going to play zone so I knew I was going to have to be ready to knock down some shots," Ferguson said. "We did a great job moving the ball and I was able to knock down a couple of shots today."